Stakeholder criticizes NIMASA’s NSDP Program…says its not working

LAGOS-Three years after it was kick started by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) the National Seafarers Development Program (NSDP) has received a knock on the head as stakeholder says that they have lost faith in the exercise as a way of salvaging the dearth of seafarers in Nigeria.

This opinion was expressed by a major stakeholder and the owner of an indigenous oil vessel, MV Osayame; Eng. Greg Ogbeifun who is also the Chief Executive Officer of Nigeria’s’ foremost indigenous ship building and ship repair company; Starz Shipping.

Eng. Ogbeifun who was speaking at a forum on the enforcement of the Cabotage law by NIMASA in Lagos recently said that the NSDP program initiated by NIMASA is not working and that a ship owner cannot rely on NIMASA to get crew for his vessel.

Taking a swipe at the program, he said that “NSDP is not working, you take a child to a school in India, he finishes from there, a ship owner in Malaysia gives him his sea time experience and he finishes from there, when such a child comes out he has no identity whatsoever”.

According to him, when the students are graduated, there is no assurance of them getting good employment aboard vessels and practice their profession, hence the program has lost its usefulness.

Eng. Ogbeifunb lamented that since the demise of the Nigeria National Shipping Line (NNSL) Nigeria has lost training opportunity for Nigerian cadets, “being a seafarer is not all about going to the maritime academy in Oron, it is actually the time you spend on a vessel acquiring the mandatory sea time”

He urged Nigerian indigenous ship owners to ensure that they come to terms with the training of seafarers, saying that the task should not be left to NIMASA or the government alone.

“ I am a ship owner, why should I wait for NIMASA to train people for me to employ, I must be involved in the training program of our seafarers, I will encourage all ship owners to come to terms with this, it is not only going to be about NIMASA or the government” he stressed.

Responding to this claim however, NIMASA’s Executive Director of Maritime Labour and Cabotage Services, Hon. Ibrahim Zailani explained that the NSDP training program is an interventionist program initiated by NIMASA after the demise of the NNSL, so as to deploy enough manpower into the maritime sector.

“NSDP is working, our first set of graduates are coming out this year from Glasgow, sea time has been organized for them, after this they are going to be employed, we are fully aware of the challenges” he said.

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