The Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN) has developed a Cadetship Training Scheme (CTS) to help Nigeria address the challenges of meeting sea-time training, for Nigerian Shipping Development Programme (NSDP) needs.
The scheme, encapsulated by a presentation made by SOAN to the management of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) showed a vision anchored on professionalism, thorough training and mentorship, which actually dovetails into broad based progression plan.
“The SOAN initiative reflects our collective commitment as ship owners to addressing the dearth of suitably qualified seafarers for the Nigerian Maritime industry”, SOAN President, Engr Greg Ogbeifun intimated the NIMASA Director General, Dakuku Peterside, as the agency management team listened with rapt attention.
Ogbeifun stressed the sincere confidence of SOAN members to see more cadets of the NIMASA’s pet project, the NSDP obtain the much-needed seaboard training, not only to satisfy their Certificate of Competence (CoC) requirements and fly Nigerian flag, but also to work on foreign vessels and earn the hard currency.
He highlighted that two other African countries had already shown genuine interest to keying into the programme, but the association, fuelled by patriotism has decided to determine the actual need of the country through NIMASA first, before throwing its gates totally opened for the African countries.
He posited that while the Indians are supplying the officers group and Filipinos are supplying the middle level group and ratings, the scheme was meticulously designed to ensure that Nigeria could supply both the officers and ratings perfectly, adding that SOAN also is working towards providing the sea-time at no bigger cost, but essentially that of minimal requirements for the cadets’ food, books, uniforms, medical and such other official requirements.
“Our streets are full of unemployed (NSDP) graduates” Ogbeifun observed, noting that no patriotic Nigerian, particularly the SOAN can continue to fold hands, when Nigeria as a country is on the IMO White List; and can ensure requisite training to provide cadets their OOW certification and subsequently empower them to prudently work both within and outside the country and realize their God given goals.
An elated Agency Boss, Dakuku after sitting through the presentation on the training scheme could not hide his joy. “I am amazed by the extent of work you have done. I am truly, truly grateful!” he indicated, stressing that the most important reason why the NIMASA exists is because there are ships to regulate.
He commended the SOAN for its un-spared commitment to growing the Nigerian Shipping industry and threw floor open for his executive directors and directors to provide inputs. Their appreciative responses if heard by the cadets presently loafing on the streets could instantly douse their restiveness.
A glimpse in the CTS showed that those who would undergo the seatime would be selected purely on merit, following a written exam, after which the successful ones would go through oral interview, and medical tests including tuberculosis tests.
The cadets would thereafter be on board for at least a 12- month duration; during which each would be rotated on different IMO approved vessels, to ensure that they acquire different operational learning experiences, under different team members, anchored to different International Oil Companies, that SOAN members presently work with.
Report has it that the scheme formalised a mentorship programme which ensures that Chiefs, Engineers and other Seniors onboard are assigned to properly monitor each cadet’s practical progress and competence development; with the ultimate goal of producing a totally equipped officer, after graduating from the Cadetship scheme.
Asked for comment, a NIMASA Director who spoke on conditions of anonymity lauded the initiative, noting that it was something the agency should have crafted, but actually was yet to think of.
“It’s like some people are thinking for us. And they are doing it in a very positive manner”, the Director explained further.