Aminu Umar (President NISA)
First the government has to create the market, a supportive market, what do I mean by supportive market? The government should insist that it is only Nigeria owned and Nigeria manned vessels that should be allowed to do any operation, the moments that is done, Nigerian seafarers would be employed, because then they would have the business, because today in Nigeria waters there are foreign ship owners who do not employ any Nigerian, but they are been allowed to do the business, and they are allowed to do the business because they have the less cost than the Nigerian ship owner, and because they have less cost they have the ability to undercut some price of the vessel and when they under cut on price, there is no way a Nigerian can be able to survive in that business and this has been the problem.
Engr Matthew Alalade (Stakeholder)
For our seafarers to be employable our schools need to be upgraded, our schools cannot match any of the developed schools, like I told you before, our certificate cannot compete with global certificates, our schools need to be upgraded, our seafarers have to have more seatime training for them to be employable.
Capt Tajudeen Alao (Master Mariners)
First of all, for them to be employable, they must have activities of proper training on the sea, good lecturers must be provided, the most make the school to be competitive, and then they must provide a conducive environment for the cadets to enjoy, what they are doing, there must be standard and these are some of the way the Nigerian government can enhance their employability.
Capt. Sunday M Umoren (Deputy Director/Head Maritime Safety and Seafarers Standards, NIMASA)
When we acquire more vessels, our seafarers will have more training time, they will be more competitive and this will enhance their employability without being discriminated.
Rev Jonathan Nicol (SALS)
Then, we were having seamen who are the sailors, I don’t know where they have their secretariat now, because some of them will stay more than nine months on the sea and when they are back, there is always fun fair to celebrate them. That was what we met in this port and then the international ship owners respected Nigerians a lot, so they were taking our seafarers because we were hard working. But somewhere along the line we lost that respect from the international community, they prefer to go to Ghana to pick seafarers and the reason is not far-fetched. Nigeria from 1984 began to have very bad name in the sector. Yes we see the resemblance of activities as we have it in other places, the only problem we had then was because NPA never worked then, there was dockyard and every other time, so also there was also a maritime training. They also go to MAN, Oron to train our seafarers, yet the seafarers have a mandatory sea term training at least a minimum of six months; in other words they are supposed to go into international waters to come out after six months and not local waters. So if you don’t have the international experience, you can’t sail a ship; you cannot board an oil vessels here going to Bonny to pick oil for six months and you want to be given a Certificate of Competency.
Emmanuel Nwagbara (Maritime Lawyer)
Government can make our seafarers more employable by giving them adequate training and not just training alone, they should be exposed to training opportunities that give the seafarers unlimited license. Right now, most of the senior seafarers we have in Nigeria what they have is costal license which doesn’t entitle them to sail international; that is what we refer to as Near Coastal Voyage License (NCVL). Our seafarers should be trained in such a manner that they have unlimited license which will enable them to man international sea going vessels, that will increase their job opportunities outside the shores of the country. Again training in etiquettes of the profession is very important, many of the Nigerian seafarers they don’t conduct themselves very well when they are on vessels particularly foreign vessels. Many Nigerian seafarer don’t see foreign vessels in Nigeria as those who are coming to take their cargoes, they still see foreign vessels in Nigeria as those who are coming to take their jobs.
Captain Adewale Ishola
What they should do is to engage more on training of the seafarers for them to be able to work on specialized vessels, for most of them working off shore vessels. We have a lot of them working who are working off shore and they don’t have the training and certification to work there. MAN, Oron is saddled with the responsibilities of doing purely academic training, but the professional training or qualification is for NIMASA, we have to understand these things. The government should work more towards ensuring adequate training for specialized vessels. The NSDP for seafarers is not enough, what happened when they finish their training.