The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has been tasked on deliberately developing programmes that would scale up the experience of seafarers as international crewing agents prefer seafarers who have served on ships with higher tonnage than those whose only experiences are on low tonnage vessel.

Capt. Warredi Enisuoh former Director, Shipping Development at NIMASA made the submission at the weekend when he was guest on Live Conversations, a Show by Maritime TV.

Addressing the topic ”Smart Crewing: How Vessel Types & Tonnage Affect Seafarers Ratings”, he said the dexterity and exposure of seafarers to vessels of higher tonnage are of concern to crew managers especially on the international scene, and a deliberate programme from the maritime administrator would serve as a panacea.

His words;

Most crewing agents want to make sure the seafarers, who are at peak positions, are people who are able to use that particular ship effectively and that the job is done.

He said that although “it is in the hands of the crewing agents and also in the hands of the person who is applying to the job to get hands on experience, to upgrade themselves on their respective roles and become very attractive to offers”, the Maritime administration in order to achieve negative unemployment and export seafarers could pre-empt the market come up with programmes that would make countries prefer Nigerian seafarers.

He said the equipment on board any vessel as well as the fitness of the seafarer to work on board is determined by the vessel size and tonnage as indicated in the seafarer’s training log and any effort to deliberately scale up the capacity of seafarers would be noble.

He also encouraged seafarers who work on small vessels to have a career progression plan and to equip themselves for bigger tasks through trainings.

Enisuoh also stated that vessel specification and configuration “are graded” irrespective of size as the tonnage increase hence the need for seafarers to seek continuous knowledge and expertise in line with international best practices to remain relevant in the career internationally.

“From my experience in terms of international standards, there are a whole lot of things that people look at when they recruit people to work on their ships. The persons that gross tonnage affect most times in crewing are the Deck department.

“For the engineer, most of their restriction is on the engine power which is the kilowatts of the engine but when it comes to the deck department, it is on gross tonnage. A lot of people who serve on vessels with low gross tonnage might be considered less than their counterparts who served in ships with higher tonnage.

“If I am coming from a background where I have been on a ship with less than a hundred and fifty gross tonnage and then you find somebody who has a ship with similar equipment, it would be easier to work together on a vessel. Part of the idea is that with instrumentation, if one has the experience of using them, a state of mind of using the systems, one becomes fit for the job role”, the former Director stated.