THE Nigerian MaritimeÂ Â Â Administration andÂ Safety Agency (NIMASA) has projectedÂ that it will need the sum of N30 billion to train about 10,000 seafarers in the next ten years.
Vanguard exclusively gathered that NIMASA has earn- marked a total of N14 billion as its own counterpart funding, while the state governments will provide the balance of N16 billion over the same period.
Speaking to Vanguard of the successes so far recorded by NIMASA, Assistant Director in charge of seafarersâ€™ training, Mrs Irene Macfoy said that NIMASA will spend about N9 million on each seafarer from new entrant to a well qualified sailor with international certification.
Macfoy stated that besides sending the cadets to AMET University in India, the beneficiaries of the National Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP) will end up in Glasgow School of Nautical Science and Southern Tyde University both in the United Kingdom.
The Assistant Director who also represented NIMASAâ€™s Director-General, Mr Temisan Omatseye at the recently concluded seminar on the role of seafaring in a nationâ€™s economy said that about 21 cadets from Ondo and Benue states are currently undergoing a foundation course in the Nautical Sciences and Marine Engineering in AMET in India.
Already, Ebonyi State has fully made its counterpart payment for the entire course duration (Bsc in Nautical Sciences and Marine Engineering) for 15 of its indigenes.
The agencyâ€™s boss explained the NSDP is a strategy designed to produce and supply the seafaring requirements for a modernÂ Nigerian economy and contribute towards bridging the current manpower deficit in the global seafarersâ€™ pool.
He further explained thatÂ the liquidation of the Nigerian National Shipping Line (NNSL) brought about a shortage in Nigerian seafarers, a development that led to the hiring of foreign sailors who have now taken over the jobs meant for Nigerians.
He was of the opinion that if the trend is not checked and is entirely left to market forces, the outcome will be catastrophic on the local maritime industry.
His words: â€œThere seems to be an inverse relation between the growth of the Nigerian Maritime sector and the pool of seafarers required by the sector.
â€œThe Nigerian seafarersâ€™ manpower pool is fast depleting, the agency has, however, observed with great concern the dearth of seafarers since the liquidation of the NNSL.
â€œDue to shortage of Nigerian seafarers, most of local maritime transport operators have resorted to foreign seafarers.
â€œConsequent upon the estimated manpower requirement ofÂ 870 officers and 1,218 ratings in Nigeria by the year 2020, the NSDP has set measurable targets in seafaring manpower, taking year 2012 as base year.
â€œWith a marginal increase in the national fleet beyond year 2020, the set level of seafarersâ€™ production, when maintained annually, will leave Nigeria with substantial net number of seafarers for export to the global maritime industryâ€.
He stated that maritime support is required in the oil and gas industry since it is going predominantly offshore to escape host community problems.
Â adding that maritime capacity need to be enhanced so as to provide logistics support for energy industry compeitiveness for economic development and job creation.