The Nigerian Maritime Society In Diaspora (NIMSID) has appealed to the Minister of Transportation; Mr Rotimi Amaechi to acquire training vessels for Nigeria’s maritime training institutions so as to help them build the career of the cadets.
It also accused both the federal government and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) of being responsible for the non-development of the maritime sector.
The group however noted that Nigeria has an abundance of unemployed seafarers because ship owners don’t find them attractive.Leader of NIMSID; Capt David Michael said recently while addressing some audience in Mauripol; Ukraine that “it is sad that when foreign shipping companies are looking for seafarers they turn to either Ghana or South Africa”.
He also expressed worries that the NIMASA National Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP) did not include the Maritime Academy of Nigeria in Oron.
“NIMASA failed to explain why Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN); the nation’s 35-year old pilot seafarers development centre along with her cadets are not included in the NSDP plan. But the implied message is that seafarer education could succeed anywhere but not in Nigeria”Capt Michael also lamented government’s failure to address the issue of training facilities in the nation’s maritime institutions.
“There is no way our Cadets can make meaningful progress without training vessels”, he maintained, even as it noted that MAN Oron does not have training vessel on which cadets can gain sea time training.
“Reliable records from NIMASA show that the last time the academy enrolled cadets for mandatory sea time training was some 20 years ago; about the same time the Nigerian National Shipping Line (NNSL) collapsed”
Since then, series of proposals for the procurement of a training vessel for the academy have been swept under the carpet by NIMASA”. The group noted that, a new cargo ship could sell for between US$5 million and US$10 million, which approximates to between N750 million and N1.5 billion.
It argued that “with the N30 billion budgeted as cost of training for the 5000 Seafarers abroad, NIMASA could procure at least 20 new cargo vessels which could also serve as training vessels. Yet what MAN is requesting for is just one vessel”.
“It is pertinent to note here that the training of a Seafarer is incomplete without the mandatory hours at sea which qualifies him for the Seaman’s Certificate of Competence (COC). The Certificate of Competence is issued to Masters, Officers, Radio Operators and Ratings forming part of a watch, who meet the standards of competence relevant to their particular functions and level of responsibility on board”.
“Considering the international and dynamic nature of the business of shipping, the absence of a training vessel for a training institution like MAN and others consequently the lack of sea time training for cadets is a serious defection to her reputation and integrity and which defect has rubbed off on the National Diploma certificate it offers to hundreds of graduates each year”.
It asked: Why is NIMASA spending so much in foreign universities training green horns selected by politicians at the states when thousands of graduates from MAN are roaming the streets simply because they could not access a sea-going vessel where they would complete their training and qualify for NIMASA’s certification as Officers?