Nigeria is currently losing over $1.5billion (N262.5billion) to the non employment of indigenous seafarers following the domination of the local shipping industry by foreign shipping firm and their crewmen.
Disclosing this recently in Accra, Ghana, the director of marine crew services of South Africa, Ms Deanna Collins said that a recent study indicates that there are about 120,000 seafaring jobs in the shipping industry in Nigeria and fewer than 800 seafarers are Nigerians.
Collins noted that there is a huge gap of maritime labour vacancies to be filled, challenging Africans to seize the opportunities that abound in the maritime industry and in return bring huge sums of foreign earnings to the respective economies.
According to her, the maritime industry ashore needs and relies on a large number of skilled maritime personnel to fill the support functions such as marine and technical superintendents, harbour masters, ship surveyors, stevedores and lecturing personnel for maritime colleges.
“Unless something is done very soon to address this now and into the future, we could reach a point where ships are unable to sail and cargoes remain on the quaysides around the globe “she stated.