Director-general of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside has disclosed that the number of Nigerian seafarers placed onboard vessels from January to June this year increased to 2,337, representing a 58.9 per cent rise in the number of seafarers employed.

Peterside, who disclosed this in an interview with journalists in Lagos, recently, said that currently a total of 289 cadets have commenced their training in Egypt and the United Kingdom on NIMASA full sponsorship.

He said: ‘‘We will ensure that beneficiaries of the scheme complete their mandatory sea-time training in due course. We are also working with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) as tech

nical partners to improve

the quality of graduates from the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN) Oron; this is to ensure that graduates from the Academy and other maritime institutions are employable.

‘‘NIMASA is as well working with a shipping firm in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to give 100 Nigerian seafarers

sea time training spread over 10 years (20 a year). Meanwhile, 243 graduates and 1,600 cadets are at various stages of completion of the seafarers training programme, 887 of them are ready for sea-time training. We are currently tackling the issue of sea-time head-on, via full sponsorship/collaboration with development partners,’’ he said.

He also said there was an increase in the total number of wholly owned Nigerian vessels in the nation’s Cabotage register. According to him, half year result shows 125 vessels registered, representing a 33 per cent increase when compared with 94 registered in the corresponding period in 2017.

A maritime expert, Emma Irekhe, commended the efforts of NIMASA and urged the federal government to do more in addressing the problems of seafarers in the country.

According to him, the Nigeria’s maritime industry and the local content policy would remain underdeveloped in the country until the issue of the seafarers was addressed. He said it was a shame that Nigerian maritime is still being dominated and controlled by foreigners.