There are indications that the dream of Nigeria’s only government-owned maritime training institution; Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron, Akwa Ibom state to upgrade to a university may soon become a reality as the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) as unfolded plans in that direction.
The hint was given last week in Badagry, Lagos state at a seminar which was organised by the Maritime Reporters Association of Nigeria (MARAN).
Delivering a paper on “developing seafaring as part of NIMASA’s input into the federal government’s seven point agenda”, the director general of NIMASA, Mr Temi Omatseye disclosed that the agency is fast-tracking work on the proposal to have a maritime academy in Badagry, in addition to establishing three more academies.
Represented by an official of the agency, Mr Irene Macfoy, the NIMAS boss disclosed that work is also on-going in the proposal to have a maritime university in Oron.
Harping on dearth of manpower in seafaring, the DG explained the celebrated National Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP) was designed as a strategic way of meeting the seafaring requirements of Nigeria.
According to him, the NSDP is designed to target specific job areas such as: master mariners, chief officers, second officers, , chief engineers, second engineers , third engineers, catering officers, junior engineers, marine electricians and so on.
It is estimated that Nigeria would need about 870 officers and 1,218 ratings by year 2020. NIMASA however admitted that Nigeria has a dominance of officer cadre; hence it can leverage on his and facilitate the recruitment of Nigerian on ships, build its regional capacity as a true maritime hub in Africa and also quickly position itself as a major maritime nation by 2025.
The NIMASA boss consequently disclosed that one of the processes and strategies that the agency is using is to fast track the establishment of more maritime academies.
NIMASA, he added is also “collaborating with the department of petroleum resources, NNPC, Maritime Industrial Consultative Organisation to compel Cabotage vessels operators to provide sea experience for ratings and preliminary practical experience for cadets from the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron.”
Speaking earlier, the president, Maritime Reporters Association of Nigeria (MARAN), Mr Leye Ajayi had lauded the NSDP initiative if NIMASA and further encouraged state governments to key in to the programme by sending heir indigenes to participate.
Mr Ajayi also supported the move to establish more maritime academies in the country.
“The association lauds the move by NIMASA in collaboration with the 36 states of the federation and the federal capital Abuja to train at least 10,000 seafarers in he next 10 years “, he observed and advised that the states to fulfill their obligation of providing 60 per cent of the funding.