A group, under the aegis of Integrated Seafarers of Nigeria has called on the Federal Government to pass a law which would ensure that any vessel arrested on illegal activities are impounded and converted into a training vessel for Nigerian seafarers.
Convener of the group, Captain Segun Akanbi told Shipping Position Daily last week that it was a wrong move for the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to be paying other countries in order to place cadets onboard for seatime.
According to him, Egyptian Government was able to acquire a vessel for training of its cadets and this was why NIMASA under its Nigerian Seafarers Development Program (NSDP) could be sending cadets in batches to train at maritime academies in Egypt.
He said that if the Federal Government could make effort to pass the law and secure a training vessel for Nigerian cadets from Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN) in Oron ,Akwa Ibom State and School of Oceanography in Lagos, Nigeria would also become a destination for maritime training.
Capt Akanbi noted that most times when vessels are arrested for engaging in illegal activities in Nigerian waters, they are often abandoned at a jetty, from there, the ship rots away thereby further polluting the waters, while some others eventually escape.
Speaking further, he said "Paying for seatime training is a complete mess. If Egypt can buy a national training vessel and even collect money from us to help put our cadets on their training ships, what stops Nigeria from buying her own?"
"If the federal government does not want to go through the management of such ships, they can make it open to investors who will definitely be ready to bring in such vessel and put it on contract with the government"
"The ship will serve as training vessel and at the same time help with various logistics"
"Government can also pass a law that, any ship arrested on illegal activities would be impounded and converted to training vessel instead of leaving them to rust and sink in our waterways"
"There are lot that can be achieved, but paying other countries to get our cadets trained is a capital No.
Nigeria has lots of cadets from MAN Oron, Oceanography and others who are still looking for cadetship, how come they have forgotten those ones and are now very much concern about the NSDP cadets. All cadets should enjoy same benefits" he argued,