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Nigerian certificates edge seafarers out off global waters

Nigerian certificates edge seafarers out off global waters
Bayo Akomolafe April 26, 2022

The Certificate of Competency (CoC) issued by Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) is restricting Nigerian seafarers from working within the nation and global waters.

It was gathered that the inability of the country to provide career progression for seafarers was another challenge, while their welfare as enshrined in MSC 2006 are poorly implemented.

The CoC is a form of licence given to every mariner to work on ships. The certificate ensures that the concerned person has the sufficient knowledge and skills to sail on ocean going vessels.

It was revealed that their counterparts in Ghana, Singapore and Australia, among others, are leveraging their licences to work globally.

Worried by this, the Alumni of Maritime Academy of Nigeria Oron (AMANO) urged NIMASA to rise up to the challenges facing the country’s seafarers, especially the difficulties in processing their identification documents and the restriction on the Nigerian issued Certificate of Competency (CoC).

Speaking at the 2022 stakeholders’ forum organised by AMANO in Lagos, the President of the association, Mr. Emmanuel Maigawa, explained that there was need for NIMASA to establish bilateral relationship with other maritime nations to enable employment of Nigerian seafarers on non-Nigerian flag vessels.

He said: “The difficulties in processing our seafarer’s identification documents, license procedures and limitations of our seafarers’ license, the welfare of seafarers as enshrined in MSC 2006, career development progression, availability of platforms are some of the challenges that prompted the stakeholders’ forum.

“A situation where a country is not able to certify her own seafarers; a situation where a country is not able to provide career progression for her seafarers where officers are not able to get to the next round for over 10 years.

“When such happens, the seafarer looks for an alternative like obtaining licenses in the United Kingdom. This often comes with a temptation for the seafarers to relocate with their family. His intention may not be to relocate his family, but because he needs a career progression, he relocates.”

Maiguwa, who is also the President of Maritime Security Providers Association of Nigeria (MASPAN), said seafaring in Nigeria should be seen from the aspect of national development where local seafarers are developed to support the national fleet.

He added that seafaring plays a role in national security with local seafarers complementing local territorial integrity.

The president noted that the country that did not have adequate and competent seafarers shouldn’t be talking about the national fleet.

He explained: “A situation where you have an insecure environment with so many ships trading with foreigners means you will have leakages of information that are vital to the country where the businesses exist, but you don’t have sufficient seafarers.

“So, there would be a leakage of information, which makes it difficult for the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Nigerian Navy to properly protect our territorial integrity. Although, we do not plan for conflict, but in such times where merchant ships are needed to support, you can imagine your fleet manned by foreigners