From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has lamented the lack of local fleets to create jobs for cadets from the National Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP).
This is even as it said 2,041 cadets have graduated since 2009, adding that while 120 of those admitted withdrew from the programme, 10 of them died in training.
It said 800 of the graduating cadets have secured placements in various maritime establishments globally.
Director General of NIMASA, Bashir Jamoh, made the disclosure while fielding questions from newsmen at the 53rd session of the State House briefing organised by the Presidential Communications Team at the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja.
The NIMASA boss provided key updates on the activities of his agency. He said non-disbursement of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund has made it difficult for indigenous players to enter into the shipping business meant to absorb the NSDP cadets.
Since 2007, successive ministers of transportation and heads of NIMASA have promised to disburse the CVFF to empower indigenous ship owners to acquire vessels but the promises have remained unfulfilled.
NIMASA chief had recently vowed to the Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Sambo, that the jinx surrounding the non-disbursement of the CVFF, would be broken.
“If there is a jinx about the CVFF, I am going to break it by getting it disbursed to deserving Nigerians.
“If these funds are disbursed, the President Muhammadu Buhari administration and the Federal Ministry of Transportation will take credit, while it remains a legacy in your administration,” the minister said.
The director general also explained that efforts to ensure shipment of goods and services to Nigeria from Europe no longer attract war risk insurance is already ongoing.
Jamoh said the three key elements was responsible for high prices in good and service imported into the country.
With Nigeria losing $1 billion annually to piracy, the director general said NIMASA is working with sister agencies and security outfits to address the menace.
According to him, since President Buhari launched the Deep Blue Project in June 2021, incidences have dropped from 34 recorded last year to zero to date.
He explained that as part of the agency’s contributions to avert oil theft on the Nigerian waters, it is currently holding discussions with the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited to deploy its special mission aircraft to monitor the nation’s pipelines.
He said the personnel to man the special surveillance aircraft are currently undertaking training in Italy.
Jamoh also disclosed the agency has secured at least 20 convictions in the past one year in relation to poaching, piracy and other crimes in the Gulf of Guinea.
According to him, all 20 persons are serving a total of 119 years behind bars with some being given an option of fine.