A Marine Engineer and Registrar of Study Center, Engineer Ike Chilaka has described Nigerian seafarers as damaged engineers adding that it would be difficult for them to be hired on board vessels.
He maintained that there are so many problems facing the Nigerian maritime sector.
Engineer Chilaka said this in a chat with Shipping Position Daily in Lagos.
He also stressed the need for further training of Nigerian seafarers in other to equip them properly to carry out their duties.
"You will employ an engineer to do something for you and what you will get you won't believe it what we call them now are damaged engineers.
You get some nautical engineers to do some work for you they can't do it, except they go for further training. So what we have here is more or less half baked as far as this maritime industry is concerned. So it is a huge problem"
Speaking on the high level of unemployment of the seafarers, he warned that if care is not taken, seafaring in Nigeria will soon be a thing of the past.
"The issue is not who is in charge of recruiting seafarers we have a problem. The way things are going there will be a time when there will be no more seafarers and there will also not be ships. So there are lots of problems the seafarers we have here can't get job because they are not properly trained"
He said said that seafaring was good during the time of the Nigerian National Shipping Lines (NNSL) as the government spent a lot of money training them abroad and they came back doing good.
He said that foreigners are taking over jobs belonging to Nigerians because indigenous seafarers are not qualified enough to do the jobs.
"It is a huge problem and that gives foreigners an edge over us. It was not like that in the past in the past people were sent abroad to study and we had very good hands those days. In the days of the Nigerian National Shipping Lines (NNSL) the federal government was able to send people on the maritime industry abroad and they came back doing well"
He urged the government to pay more attention to the sector and ensure schools who are into training are well equipped.
"These days government pays little attention to training of seafarers even the schools that started these training are not well equipped. So as a result what we have is half-baked professionals in this field. So that is why if I have a vessel now I may not use our crew Herr because I know what they are and what they can do. So the best is to go out and get the people that I feel can do the work and they will do it and use our people to support them”, he concluded.