Nigerian wholly owned ships and other vessels operating in the country’s cabotage waters increased by 32 percent in 2018, the industry’s regulator, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has said.
Owing to the increase, the agency said number of seafarers engaged in 2018 rose by 200 percent from 1,000 in 2017 to 3,000 in 2018.
Dakuku Peterside, director general, NIMASA, told maritime and shipping stakeholders and operators at the 2019 Day of the Seafarer, that following a more rigorous vessel inspection activities of the agency, substandard vessels now calling at the nation’s ports have been reduced from about 19 percent in 2015 to 14 percent in 2019.
The year’s Seafarers Day themed, “I’m Onboard” is centred on the development of female seafarers in Nigeria.
According to relevant statistics on the male-female disparity in seafaring careers, only two percent of world seafarers are women.
Peterside called for action to bring more women onboard vessels and working in the various fields of maritime.
“Nigeria has a total of 6,039 seafarers out of which only 567 are females. Also, 26 out of 250 students in maritime fields, representing about 10.4 percent are females. In the same vein, only 32 out of a total of 259 cadets about to take sea time training who are being trained under the National Seafarers Development Programme are women. This calls for a quick action in developing female seafarers and bringing more of our women onboard vessels,, ” Peterside said.
Karen Ogidigben, director, crew management and training at Hapag-Lloyd, noted that only 25,000 out of a total of 2.5 million seafarers are women. She cited among other things, cultural and legal barriers which impede growth of number of women on sea.
She therefore charged the government to make deliberate laws to encourage female participation in seafaring.