Determined to develop manpower for the nation’s maritime sector, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), has approved the placement of 11,956 seafarers onboard Cabotage vessels from January 2021 to July 2023.
Under the current administration led by Bashir Jamoh, about 3,705 seafarers were placed onboard Cabotage vessels in 2021; 7,238 seafarers in 2022, and 1,013 seafarers in seven months of 2023 (Jan–July).
Also, about 539 seafarers were recommended for placement in the first quarter of 2023.
In terms of registration, 3,219 and 3,619 seafarers were registered in 2021 and 2022 respectively while 1,176 were registered in the seven months of 2023.
Similarly, about 24 MLC 2006 certificates were issued in 2021; 49 MLC 2006 certificates were issued in 2022 and 63 MLC 2006 certificates were issued in 2023. This amounts to 8,014 seafarers registered between 2021 and 2023 July, and 136 MLC 2006 certificates issued within the same period.
Meanwhile, Cabotage manning applications are now processed on the condition that all foreign crew, especially Ratings on board vessels are to be replaced with Nigerian seafarers or cadets within two to three weeks of operations.
With the establishment of the e-registration platform, the agency also digitalised the registration and documentation of maritime labour including seafarers and dockworkers, maritime labour employers for shipping companies, manning/crewing agents, stevedoring companies, jetties/terminals operators; and operators in bonded terminals, inland container depots, off dock terminals, dry ports offshore platforms in Nigeria.
Presently, 65 stevedoring companies, 26 terminal/jetty operators, and 1,395 dockworkers have been registered within the period under review.
The maritime labour e-registration platform is a robust integrated information, verification, and communication facility that provides real-time information on maritime labour registration processes and operations as well as enables the online registration and verification of documents, and makes the issuance of operational licenses timely.
It also serves as a database from which statistics can be extrapolated for national planning, policy formulation, human and infrastructural development, and research purposes.
NIMASA in 2008 initiated the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP) with the sole mandate of training Nigerians to become seafarers and Naval Architects in order to build manpower for the maritime industry.
It was designed to train Nigerians up to degree level in Marine Engineering, Nautical Sciences, and Naval Architecture in the best maritime training institutions abroad to enable them to compete effectively in the global maritime industry.
In December 2022, NIMASA sent forth 235 Nigerians to India and Greece as Batch B of the 435 Nigerians to be trained as Licensed Deck and Engine Officers including Naval Architects under the NSDP in addition to the 200 sponsoured under Batch A.
Bashir Jamoh, director general of NIMASA said then that the Agency was working with countries that are committed to an understanding for mutual recognition of Certificate of Competency (CoC), which helped with the selection of training institutions.
The Agency has also succeeded in providing sea-time for beneficiaries of the NSDP with the aim of enabling Nigerians to earn FX and improve remittances to the country.