L-R: Director, Western Zone, NIMASA; Mr Olayemi Abbass, Director General, NIMASA, Dr Dakuku Peterside and the Director, Strategic Reforms, Mr Sani Muhammed at a press conference with maritime journalists in Lagos last week
The Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr. Dakuku Peterside has said that Nigeria does not have the expertise to operate a training vessel, even as he said that the country is currently working in collaboration with South Africa Maritime Safety Agency (SAMSA) Kenya as well as Ghana in order to operate a joint training vessel.
Speaking at a breakfast meeting with journalists in Lagos last week, Peterside said partnering would be a better option, and that it saves cost to operate a trading vessel rather than a training vessel. He said that this was why the agency has adopted the outsourcing model in providing seatime experience for Nigerian cadets outside the shores of the country.
The NIMASA boss argued that the only African country that has attempted owning a training vessel is South Africa through its SAMSA training vessel.
He however said the SAMSA training vessel has not functioned for eight years because the country does not have the core skill to manage a training vessel. He reiterated that the cost of running a training vessel is by far more expensive than outsourcing.
"There is no way you would place cadets on a training vessel for one year, how would they feed? We asked the question that why don’t we acquire a training vessel? It is only SAMSA, South Africa Maritime Administration that acquired a training vessel many years ago, there is no other maritime administration in Africa that has done it, I am privy as the chairman of AMAA"
"A training vessel is not the same thing as a trading vessel, what they teach you is limited, it is like having another classes onboard, but for a trading vessel, you would acquire practical experience, you get the training and you would also understand the intricacies of creating a trading vessel, a trading vessel comes with a lot of advantage"
"The owners of the trading vessel bears their own cost and you would just pay some premium on training of your cadets, and this is where the world is going, countries are placing their cadets on a trading vessel instead of a training vessel", Peterside said.
He said that Kenya, South Africa, Ghana and Nigeria are in talks to acquire a vessel that will be outsourced to an agency to run.
To this end, Peterside said a SAMSA Chief Executive would be visiting Nigeria later in the month. According to him, the official is conducting a tour from Nigeria to Ghana and there to Kenya in order to tie up the arrangements.
He said "We are still talking to South Africa, not just us, Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya, we are talking to SAMSA for us to jointly use our training vessel so that we can outsource it to another agency who has the competence to run a training vessel, by so doing we would bring cadets from Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya onboard the vessel, this discussion is ongoing"
"So obviously, if you look at the economy, it is preferable to place your cadets onboard trading vessels instead of training vessel, it is by far better", he argued.