Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Patrick Akpobolokemi has said that the country will soon be an exporter of seafarers due to the huge investment the federal government has made on training.
Akpobolokemi in a press briefing with newsmen recently said the country would soon start earning foreign exchange from exportation of seafarers.
“We have no doubt that in the next five years Nigeria would have produced a sizeable number of qualified seafarers satisfying local demands and also earning scarce foreign exchange from working on board foreign ships.
“Also, I am glad to inform you that under the National Seafarers Development Programme, over 2,500 young Nigerians are currently enjoying various levels of scholarships in reputable institutions in the United Kingdom, Egypt, Romania, India and Philippines.
“As a forward looking management, this administration has also tailored a long-term solution to the dearth of qualified professionals in the maritime sector hence it conceived the Nigerian Maritime University (NMU).
“The university will produce high level manpower for Nigeria’s maritime/shipping sector on sustainable basis. It will provide training for seafarers, master mariners, marine engineers, naval architects, nautical scientists and other specialised maritime/shipping trade skills.
“The NMU is envisaged to become a centre of excellence in innovative research for the maritime sector in the West and Central Africa sub-region when it fully evolves,” Akpobolokemi said.
Akpobolokemi also said that since the agency was appointed as the designated authority for implementation of the International Ships and Ports Facility Security code, it had achieved about 83% compliance level in two years.
The NIMASA DG also said that the agency’s satellite surveillance centre “has assisted in our quest to combat all illicit activities in the Nigerian maritime domain and beyond”.
He said the 24-hour satellite surveillance equipment has the capacity to detect boats, ships and objects of predefined cross-section, floating on water and has helped to reduced incidence of piracy and oil theft to the barest minimum.
He said, “This achievement of ours has pitched the sponsors of oil theft and piracy attacks against the Agency and hence the numerous mudslinging on NIMASA and its leadership most of which are sponsored by unscrupulous elements.
“Our vision is to transform the maritime sector into an industry that will generate capable local manpower, which will contribute significantly to the nation’s gross domestic product.
“We will not be surprised if it is these pirates and oil thieves who are using the APC veil to sponsor attacks on the agency.
“We remain committed to the ideals setting up NIMASA and resolute in efforts at evolving a responsible and responsive safety administration in the belief that the future of our country can only be guaranteed by a focused leadership,” he said.
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