The Rector of Starz Maritime Academy, Dr. Reuben Ovai, has said that the training of seafarers does not only end in the class room, adding that internship on board vessels matters a lot.
Dr. Ovai who disclosed this in a chat with Shipping Position Daily in Lagos last week, also maintained that maritime training for seafarers are in two phases, the first phase which is mainly academic works and the second which is internship.
The Rector, who applauded the academy for its works in terms of equipping the seafarers academically, also said that maritime academies should not be expected to arrange for sea time for young seafarers living the school, saying that it is the work of the government.
“Let me tell you the truth, as far as we are concerned we are giving our students the best that they can fit in any maritime in the world. But you know the training of a seafarer does not end in the classroom alone, the internship on board the vessel matters a lot. Maritime training is of two phases, the first phase if the classroom works while the second phase is the internship of 18montrhs and that is what makes them competent hands to functions properly as seafarers. But as for the academic side of it, I think we try our best; but that of sea time, it is what you don’t expect a school to arrange for sea time for students or establish a sea time; it is not done all over the world”
He called for the establishment of a shipping line, saying that it will help in providing adequate sea time for the cadets.
“If there were national shipping line, it is where some of these students would have gone for sea time and that is what would have completed the circle. So the problem of Nigerian seafarers training is not that of the institution but that of the policy and the present condition as far as shipping is concerned in Nigeria. In terms of academic work even if our students travel outside Nigeria, they are performing excellently well outside the country”.
The issue of getting sea time is not just for the government alone, if we have a private sector it is just where the student can have the second phase of their training which is the internship part of the training. This is what I tell our graduates as a seafarer your domain is not Nigeria alone; it is the world in general. If you can’t see any opportunity in Nigeria, look elsewhere where they have ships and internship and go on with your profession, and many of them have been doing that”, he concluded.