NIMASA begins bidding process for multibillion naira cadets’ sea time training

The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has begun the bidding process for the provision of sea-going vessels for sea time training of about 100 cadets who have completed their maritime studies under the National Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP) earlier this year.

SHIPS AND PORTS DAILY exclusively gathered that the bidding process started this week and is being held in a hotel in Lagos, where the agency is working to determine which shipping company would be used for provide the compulsory sea time training for the young seafarers.

Provision of sea time training can be capital intensive and has been a big challenge for the country’s ability to train seamen of international standards. This is the first time NIMASA is taking the bold step to provide sea time training for cadets.

While sea time training is almost unaffordable by individual efforts, it is estimated that it could cost up to N1 billion to get sea time training in Nigeria, where there are currently no national flagged sea-going vessels

Sea time training for maritime cadets is an indispensable part of the maritime training that entails onboard vessel experience. As a traditional requirement as a practical necessity for learning the skills of a merchant marine officer, as recommended by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) regulations, the international Standards for Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping (STCW) guidelines standardized the sea-service requirements for marine officer licenses..

The minimum period of onboard time, commonly referred to as sea time, is considered essential to ensure that mariners are exposed to actual operating conditions, over an adequate period of time, to prepare them for positions of increasing shipboard responsibility and leading to the issuance of Certificates of Competency.

A top official of the agency, who declined identity of the bidding shipping lines, maintaining that it is too early to give out the information on the bidders, told SHIPS AND PORTS DAILY that the agency would have preferred a Nigerian sea-going vessel if there was any.

The source said the bidders are largely foreign shipping lines, with a few Nigerian ship owners operating in the oil and gas sector.

Confirming the commencement of the biding process, NIMASA’s deputy director, Public Relations, Hajia Lami Tumaka said the agency would not be deterred by the current economic situation of the country in its determination to provide the sea time training.

“NIMASA is strongly determined to provide the sea time training for our cadets and the current economic conditions will not affect the project. The bidding process has started as you and is ongoing even now as we talk.

“You know it takes due diligence and a long process and this is what is making it look like it is delayed. After advertising the bidding, we need six weeks to wait and to receive applications from bidders before the process can start,” she said.

The director-general of NIMASA, Dr Dakuku Peterside had said the agency had conclude arrangement for sea time training of 100 cadets who returned to Nigeria in June this year after completing their maritime studies at the University of Perpetual Help, Philippines under the NSDP sponsored by the agency.

A total of 100 cadets who graduated with degrees in Maritime Transport, Marine Engineering and Navigational Technology respectively from the University of Perpetual Help, Philippines returned to the country on Monday, June 13, 2016.

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