Seafarers’ Group Berate SOAN Over Cadetship Training Scheme

R-L: Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) who is also the Chairman, Association of African Maritime Administration (AAMA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, Director General, Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA), Mr. Kwame Owusu and Chief Executive Officer of the South African Maritime and Safety Administration (SAMSA) Mr. Sobantu Tilayi during an interactive session of AAMA executives with the African Maritime Attaché Advisory Group (AAMAG) at the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) conference in London recently. 

...Say its insincere political propaganda 

Convener of the Integrated Seafarers of Nigeria, Capt Segun Akanbi has berated the Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN) over its Cadetship Training Scheme (CTS), describing the scheme as a political propaganda anchored on insincerity.Capt Akanbi, in a chat with Shipping Position Daily last week noted that the shipowners CTS was discriminatory because it focuses on addressing the challenges of meeting sea-time training for only cadets under the National Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP) sponsored by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) President of SOAN, Engr Greg Ogbeifun had said at an event in Lagos last week while intimating the NIMASA Director General, Dakuku Peterside on the idea behind the CTS scheme, said that it was a collective commitment of SOAN members directed at addressing the dearth of suitably qualified seafarers for the Nigerian Maritime industry.But Capt Akanbi, in his reaction during a chat with our correspondent noted that many cadets are graduating every year from Nigerian training institutions like; Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN) in Oron Akwa Ibom State, College of Fishery and Marine Technology in Lagos among others and they are currently wondering on the streets as a result of lack of sea time.He said that charity should begin at home and that if truly SOAN wants to help Nigerian cadets, it should begin from Nigerian training institutions."We have so many cadets who are graduating from MAN Oron and School of Oceanography every year who are completely stranded looking for sea time but nobody cares""Now because NSDP is a NIMASA project, the SOAN is showing concern""They have created a serious division in the sector with their political propaganda. In summary, they are making life more difficult for the product of Nigeria marine schools""Most of them are beneficiaries of government sponsorship, so they won't understand what it takes for poor parents to send their children to school with hard earned money and the administration who is supposed to create a balance have successfully relegated them to nothing", he said.The SOAN President had at the recent event stressed the sincere confidence of SOAN members to see more cadets of the NIMASA’s pet project; the NSDP obtain the much-needed sea training, not only to satisfy their Certificate of Competence (CoC) requirements and fly Nigerian flag, but also to work on foreign vessels and earn the hard currency.He highlighted that two other African countries had already shown genuine interest to key into the programme, but the association, fuelled by patriotism has decided to determine the actual need of the country through the NIMASA first, before throwing its gates  are totally opened for the African countries.He posited that while the Indians are supplying the officers group and Filipinos are supplying the middle level group and ratings, the scheme was meticulously designed to ensure that Nigeria could supply both the officers and ratings perfectly, adding that SOAN also is working towards providing the sea-time at no bigger cost, but essentially that of minimal requirements for the cadets’ food, books, uniforms, medical and such other official requirements. “Our streets are full of unemployed (NSDP) graduates” Ogbeifun observed, noting that no patriotic Nigerian, particularly the SOAN can continue to fold hands, when Nigeria as a country is on the IMO White List; and can ensure requisite training to provide cadets their OOW certification and subsequently empower them to prudently work both within and outside the country and realize their God given goals.