Mr. Henry Prince-Agbodjan, the Manager, Human Resources and Manning of the Nigerian Ship Management Ltd (NSML), a subsidiary of the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG), has urged Indigenous Maritime Academies to employ strategies that would ensure the engagement of Nigerian cadets onboard international flagged vessels.
According to him, collaborations with foreign establishments and accreditations of Nigerian academies could boost the value of the certificates and open up employment opportunities for Nigerian seafarers on foreign flagged vessels.
Agbodjan who currently supervises the careers of over 650 seafaring personnel onboard 11 LNG vessels owned by the BGT and 1 LPG vessel, made the submission while speaking as a panelist at a recent virtual conference tagged: “Fair Future for Female Seafarers”.
Speaking at the forum organised by the Female Seafarers Association of Nigeria (FESAN), he stated that NSML supports the Nigerian female seafarer through a conscious effort that directly employs qualified female seafarers onboard its vessels, with a number of the females moving into shore roles in the company after a number of years
He added that through the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP) by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) in conjunction with the NSML SCDP initiative , NSML is also training female cadets to meet the manning requirements of the company.
He disclosed that 19 female cadets from the NSDP/SCDP are currently undergoing sea training onboard NLNG vessels and described them as ” very talented”.
Optimistic that quite a number of the females participating in their training would want to remain at sea when they qualify as officers and engineers, Henry Agbodjan stressed the need for improved capacity of indigenous seafarers to match international standards.
He explained that while opportunities exist for Nigerians in the seagoing profession, Maritime Academies in Nigeria should look towards getting international accreditation as it would enable cadets get sea time and work opportunities on international seagoing vessels while conserving capital flight expended by the NSDP annually.
“We also have to look at our Maritime Academies in Nigeria. A lot they can also do in terms of getting certificates from those schools accepted by some foreign flags so that our people can be employed directly into foreign employment on the foreign-flagged vessels”, he said.
Agbodjan stated that concerted efforts are ongoing to ensure that females are incorporated into the seafaring profession as NSML is partnering with NIMASA to take on graduates of the NSDP passing through the SCDP in commensurate proportion to their fleet capacity.
“We have taken over 19 female cadets and about 19 of them have passed the test and are going through the training onboard our vessels and we have seen some very talented ones among them. So, hopefully, I’m sure a number of them would be employed as officers and engineers on merit basis.
“We are doing a lot on training through the company’s training arm (MCOE) and a lot of trainings still need to be done. We want to encourage NIMASA to continue what they are doing in terms of developing the Nigerian sea going trade and I know there is still a lot more to be done in terms of policy”, he said