The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) said it is working closely with relevant agencies of Government to ensure that academic activities at the Nigerian Maritime University (NMU) commence next academic session.The Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside who stated this during this year’s celebration of Day of the Seafarers with the theme “Seafarers Matter” noted that the mandate of the University include bridging the gap in human capacity in the maritime sector, with particular reference to seafarers now perceived to be in high demand in the country and globally.While restating that capacity building remain a focal mandate of the Agency, Dr Dakuku observed that continuous capacity building is required in order to ensure the sustainable growth and development of the maritime sector and the country as a whole.“Learning is a continuous process, when we stop learning the sector cannot grow, and by extension the entire country. More so, the country is diversifying its resources and we need trained and competent personnel to man the different sectors of the economy. In this regard, in NIMASA there is a rebirth of focusing on our core mandate of which capacity development is topmost in order to realize a virile maritime sector. We therefore remain committed to the ideals of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s Federal Government of making Nigeria a pride in the comity of nations”, the DG said. Dr Dakuku urged seafarers to remain patriotic in the delivery of their services to their Fatherland and assured them that NIMASA will continue to collaborate with shipowners and relevant Stakeholders in the sector to ensure that their interest is protected. In his words “We are proud of you and be rest assured that we will ensure that your interest is protected; in the light of these, we will also ensure that all international instruments pertaining to your welfare are fully implemented,” Dr. Dakuku assured. Speaking further, the DG said that the National Joint Industrial Council (NJIC) comprising of tripartite stakeholders, have reconvened to fashion out a decent wage and improved working and living conditions for the seafarers in line with the provisions of the convention and comparable to what is obtainable internationally. “It is therefore expected that once the collective bargaining agreement is signed, ship-owners will commence its full implementation”, he stated. While assuring the Seafarers of the Agency’s continuous support, the DG stated that NIMASA will continue to give priority to capacity building initiatives in order to actualize its vision of making NIMASA a world class organisation in line with global best practices. This according to him has also led the Agency to develop a multi-strategy approach to encouraging young school leavers to take a career at sea through the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP).It may be recalled that the NSDP initiative of the Agency which was conceived in 2008 in order to bridge the perceived gap of seafarers in the country has so far facilitated the training of 2,259 young Nigerians in various fields of maritime studies in reputable Maritime Institutions in the United Kingdom, Egypt, Romania, India and the Philippines. Amongst this number, a total number of 943 cadets of the NSDP will soon be placed onboard ocean going vessels for their mandatory sea time, as facilitated by NIMASA with institutions in Egypt, United Kingdom and Turkey. In March this year, the Agency also facilitated the training of 428 Seafarers on mandatory courses and other specific areas of specialization for career progression. These include STCW, Oil Tanker familiarization (OTF), Efficient Deck Hand (EDH), ISPS awareness training and specialized training on Dynamic Positioning (DP).