Nigeria will be able to provide about 50 per cent of seafarers needed in Africa by 2020, the Director of Administration and Personnel, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Felix Bobnabena has said.
According to the global maritime watchdog, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), seafarers are in high demand across the globe. This is due to the widening gap in the current age current seafarers and the upcoming ones worldwide.
According to the United Nations (UN) specialised agency, the shipping world is in dire need of seafarers. This has prompted many member nations of IMO to step up efforts in the training of more seafarers to fill the gap. The Philippines, Egypt, India, and Nigeria are presently in the forefront in the training of more seafarers.
Thousands of Nigerians are currently undergoing training in maritime courses in selected maritime training institutions in the United Kingdom, the Philippines, India and Egypt. The courses include Naval architecture, Marine engineering, Maritime Transportation and Nautical science.
Speaking in Lagos, Bobabena said Nigeria could provide 50 per cent of Africa’s requirement of seafarers by 2020.According to him, the maritime industry has immense potential that Nigerian youths can take advantage of, citing the nation’s 853 kilometres coastline.
He said: “We are looking at a population of about 170 (million), which comprises teeming youths who have a lot of potential within the context of the maritime industry. So, we believe that if we put these two things together – maritime potential, our teeming youths and of course the hospitable nature of Nigerians as a people, they would be able to excel very much in the maritime profession.
“In fact, one of the major things which I have seen in the Philippines is that they have done in such a way that they have been able to blend these two. So you have the hospitality industry also growing alongside with the maritime industry. When you have this character value in terms of hospitality and the technical aspect of it in terms of maritime skills and you blend these within the industry itself, you would find a situation whereby Nigerian maritime personnel would be in demand worldwide”.
He explained that it was not a mistake that the National Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP) being implemented by NIMASA had chosen three universities in the Philippines to engage some Nigerian youths on seafarers’ training programme.
“We shall continue to do what is expected of us as an agency to ensure that we achieve our set goals and objectives in the implementation of NSDP. Not many people will see the gains of what we are doing now by the training of Nigerian youth as seafarers but I can assure that the multiplier effect in the long run will be too numerous to enumerate,” he said.
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