The Governor of Delta State, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa has stated that the efficiency and effectiveness of the Nigerian economy depends largely on the maritime sector as over 90 per cent of the world trade are transported through the sea.
Senator Okowa who made this remarks today in his keynote address during the 2018 Day of the Seafarers celebration with the theme; “seafarers’ wellbeing” held in Warri, Delta State organized by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and other maritime Agencies also commended NIMASA for its efforts and determination to ensure that Nigeria is reckoned with in the international maritime domain.
The Governor who was represented by the Deputy Governor of the state, Barrister Kingsley Otuaro further applauded the initiative of the establishment of the Nigerian Maritime University (NMU), which is the first specialized in Africa and expressed the readiness of the State to partner the Agency in actualizing the vision behind the establishment of the institution.
“As a State, we are prepared to support and partner NIMASA and the Federal Government of Nigeria to ensure the underlying motive of establishing the Maritime University is achieved; we are also certain that the University undoubtedly will be a source of training more seafarers and adding more commercial value to the Nigerian economy” the Governor said.
Earlier in his welcome remarks, the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr. Dakuku Peterside noted that the Nigerian seafarers ranks among the best in the world and can favourably compete with their foreign counterparts.
Accordingly, the DG said this is why the Agency in the past few years embarked on the training and retraining of Nigerian Seafarers and Cadets in specialized maritime courses both locally and internationally, which is aimed at enhancing their competences and employability.
Speaking further, Dr. Peterside who reiterated the Agency’s commitment to ensuring a better living condition for the seafarers in line with the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Decent Work Agenda gave the assurance that the Agency will continue to make issues concerning the seafarers a priority.
He also highlighted the importance of the ILO’s Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) 2006 which he said Nigerian ratified in 2013, stating that it made adequate provisions for seafarers’ welfare which if fully implemented will also guarantee their wellbeing. “As the competent authority for the implementation of all IMO and ILO conventions, NIMASA has diligently commenced the implementation of the convention in Nigeria from the time it entered into force in 2014 till date, through the conduct of port and flag inspections on board vessels operating in our waters,” the DG said.
While acknowledging the fact that the Nigerian seafarers are faced with lots of challenges that are work related, Dr. Peterside used the opportunity to urge all employers to ensure the promotion of ILO’s Decent Work Agenda, which aims at promoting the workers mental health and wellbeing.
Meanwhile, he also stated that as part of the Agency’s commitment to training and retraining of the seafarers to enhance professionalism in the sector, the Agency has so far trained over 2000 cadets under the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP). This is in addition to those who have already undergone their mandatory sea time training, 500 have been earmarked for sea time training in 2018 fiscal year, while another 500 will undergo the training in 2019.
Dr. Peterside also said that 150 fresh cadets will benefit from the programme under the NSDP which will commence in the next academic session
On the other hand, the Agency in May this year facilitated the training of 370 Nigerian seafarers in relevant courses leading to certifications on Standards of Training Certifications (STCW), Oil Tanker Familiarization, Security Awareness (ISPS) Code, Proficiency in Survival Craft and Rescue Boats (PSCRB) and Dynamic Positioning.
Also, he hinted that another 560 Dockworkers benefitted from the training programme on Occupational Safety and Health which was developed in line with the ILO’s code of practice OSH. “All these are geared toward realizing a robust maritime sector in line with international regulations,” Dr. Peterside said.
At the event, President General of the Maritime Workers Union (MWUN), represented by the Secretary General, Comrade Felix Akingboye, the Chairman, Ports Consultative Council, Otunba Kunle Folarin, President of the Seamen and Water Transport Branch of the Maritime Workers’ Union, Comrade Francis Bunu and other Stakeholders unanimously commended NIMASA for its efforts in ensuring that the welfare of the seafarers is taken into proper consideration.
The Day of the seafarers is a day celebrated all over the world on the 25th of June yearly; following the resolution adopted by the 2010 diplomatic conference in Manila, Philippines to adopt the STCW Convention