The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) had secured more sea time berths for 400 cadets in spite of limitations caused by COVID-19 pandemic.
The Director-General of NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh, made the disclosure in a statement in Lagos on Monday.
Jamoh said the cadets were trained under the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP).
He said the feat followed a recent three-month extension granted the 400 Nigerian seafarers undertaking sea time courses in different parts of the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jamoh said that the training was extended for another three months by NIMASA to enable the seafarers complete their training due to the global lockdown caused by the pandemic.
According to Jamoh, the three-month programme will lead to the award of Certificate of Competency (CoC) to beneficiaries.
He added that the agency had intensified efforts to secure sea time opportunities for a good number of the trained cadets across the globe.
“In the first quarter of 2020 alone, we secured sea time berths for over 550 cadets in various countries for the three months programme leading to the issuance of CoCs.
“However, due to the pandemic, we extended their sponsorship for another three months, which comes with additional cost, and we are still looking to extend it further as we continue to monitor the pandemic and how it affects the programme,” he said.
The NIMASA Director-General said that the agency was in constant touch with Nigerian embassies in the beneficiaries’ host countries as well as the students themselves and their leaders.
“Keeping in touch is to monitor their situations and guard against anything that could keep them stranded in a foreign country.
“We have adapted our approaches to the peculiar conditions of the different countries where we have Nigerian seafarers on sea time training.
“The feedback from the students’ leaders in the various countries have been very encouraging,” he said.
He disclosed that another set of NSDP cadets had been approved for training, but their enrollment was on hold due to the global pandemic.
The NSDP was initiated by NIMASA in 2008 to deal with the dearth of trained and certified seafarers in Nigeria.
So far, the programme had graduated over 2,000 cadets, and many of them have undergone sea time courses and are currently in the employment of various international shipping lines.