The Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transporters Senior Staff Association has said that equipping the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN) in Oron Akwa Ibom State is critical to Nigeria’s quest to regain her lost seat on the category 'C' of the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
The union's Secretary General, Comrade Julius Eforkpo told Shipping Position Daily last week in Lagos that failure of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to install the simulator acquired for the academy was one of the reasons it failed at the IMO elections two years ago.
The unionist alleged that the simulator that was initially acquired for MAN Oron and that year after year, the IMO auditors noticed the anomaly.
He said that the Certificate of Competency (CoC) issued by Nigeria has been effected by the downgrading of MAN Oron, as Nigeria CoC cannot match those issued in other countries.
Comrade Eforkpo said: "Certificate of Competencies are guided by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), there is no way you can bend the rule. Nigeria has lost its role in the IMO today because they have not kept to the rule"
"If you go to MAN Oron, the equipment that is supposed to be on ground for auditors from IMO to check are not there, there is no way to bend the rule”
The CoC has to be of world standard and acceptable by other countries"
He stressed that Nigerian maritime institutions should be brought to the standard of IMO.
According to him, IMO has a checklist which Nigeria should take a look at and comply with the requirements.
He alleged that MAN Oron lacked qualified lecturers.
Continuing, the merchant navy scribe said: "When I went to Oron for this same issue, I found out that masters were being trained by river masters who drive small boats"
"Being on the White List is not a permanent seat; it is based on audit reports. It is not only Nigeria that is affected, even big maritime nations are off and on, it is your compliance status that qualifies you, Nigeria should wake up and continue meeting the requirements through domestication of IMO laws and conventions", he advised.