The Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has stated that Nigeria must make a conscious effort in optimizing its rich maritime resources to consolidate the country’s status as a regional maritime hub.
The Lagos State Governor made this comment last Thursday at the World Maritime Day celebrations, themed, “Seafarers: At the Core of Shipping’s Future,” hosted in the state.
Sanwo-Olu who was represented by the General Manager, Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA), Oluwadamilola Emmanuel, stated that, “Nigeria needs to consolidate her position as the maritime hub for West and Central Africa by fully harnessing her maritime resources and ensuring safety and security within our territorial waters and in the Gulf of Guinea.
“The maritime industry is a window to economic prosperity and national development of nations, and Lagos State has utilised its maritime status to foster national unity and cohesion as the Centre of Excellence.”
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, who was present at the event called for increased attention to specialized training of seafarers, adding that the Federal Government is committed to strengthening the National Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP).
The minister stated that seafaring had moved from simple apprenticeship to specialized and rigorous nautical education due to the impact of digitalization and the emergence of technologically advanced ships.
“In view of the emerging realities, more attention should be given to seafarers’ specialized training to be capable of performing expert tasks in their various fields of engagement onboard vessels,” he said.
In his own address, Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh, said the country prioritised the welfare of seafarers and had continued to work in close adherence to standards set by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) with regard to their wellbeing.
Jamoh extolled the strategic role of seafarers in the global supply chain and commended IMO for focusing on seafarers’ welfare since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2019.
“NIMASA has continued to march in lockstep with the IMO on all matters concerning seafarers since the outbreak of COVID-19. We were the first to declare seafarers as essential workers on the African continent.
“We recognised that the COVID-19 pandemic had placed extraordinary demands on seafarers. During the lockdowns occasioned by the pandemic across the globe, seafarers remained in service, delivering critical supplies to feed and heal a sick and despairing world.
“In my view, seafarers will, no doubt, continue to remain at the core of shipping from past to present to future in line with this year’s theme of World Maritime Day,” Jamoh stated.