A private maritime academy, Global Maritime Academy, has sent out a Save our Soul (SOS) message to the Nigeria Board for Technical Education (NBTE) over the recent statement credited to the Nigerian Association of Master Mariners (NAMM) and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and safety Agency (NIMASA) that private maritime academies are illegal without NIMASA’s approval.
In a statement sent to SHIPS & PORTS DAILY on Thursday, the rector of the academy, Isaac Aikoroje, said the clarification of the board was necessary because the statement was already causing problems in some of the NBTE- approved private maritime academies, as students want to know if they are in an illegal institution or not.
He said, “First and foremost, I want the board to correct the disingenuous statement accredited to the Master Mariners that private maritime academies in Nigeria are illegal, over non-accreditation by NIMASA. This is because private maritime academies are not established only to run STCW courses which are approved by NIMASA.”
He also said that the statement had affected the smooth running of their schools and has also generated panic among the students.
“NBTE clarification would go a long way to pacify our students who are already biased, ” he said.
He added that NBTE should compel NIMASA to state clearly that except private academies want to run the STCW courses, they do not need the agency’s approval to operate if they had been approved by NBTE.
The rector said his investigation had shown that NIMASA was not set up to regulate maritime educational institutions.
“In all of these, there is nothing like accreditation of maritime educational institutions in their area of focus or regulatory services.
He said, “A visit to NIMASA website shows that the areas of focus of NIMASA include effective maritime safety administration, maritime labour regulation, marine pollution prevention and control, search and rescue, cabotage enforcement, shipping development and ship registration, training and certification of seafarers, and maritime capacity development.”
He continued that “The Agency was established primarily for the administration of maritime safety, seafarers standards and security, maritime labour, shipping regulation, promotion of commercial shipping and cabotage activities, pollution prevention and control in the marine environment, the agency also implements domesticated International Maritime Organization (IMO) and International Labour Organization (ILO) Conventions.”
He said that apart from the infrastructure, they also have the manpower to meet with NBTE standard, saying that was why they were approved in the first instance. “I wish to believe that the Master Mariners of Nigeria are not aware of this great initiative by government to use
Private maritime schools in Nigeria to teach maritime education to her people.
However, on the statement credited to the National Association of Master Mariners, the rector said NIMASA could only approve STCW courses, NBTE and NUC approves maritime education courses and not the academies.
“It is the STCW courses that NIMASA accredits and any private maritime academy that wants to do the course must apply and meet the criteria to run the course.
“Outside STCW, private maritime academies run maritime educational courses that could be approved by NBTE and NUC, while also, some private maritime academies do not run STCW courses. Does that make them illegal according to our Master Mariners?” he asked.
Aikoroje stated that private maritime academies were not only approved to run only STCW courses.
“I want to believe that they (Master Mariners) are not aware that Maritime Schools, whether private or public are not established to run only STCW courses. Otherwise, the statement that private maritime schools are illegal because they are not accredited by NIMASA would not have come from them.”
He however said that private maritime academies were living up to the expectation of their ability on challenges they are asked to solve.
His words, “private maritime academies are meeting up with their responsibility and an example is Star Maritime Academy Ogun State.
“A visit to the academy will convince you that the maritime school is actually producing students with skills, the very essence for which NBTE approved them. The students have been able to produce refrigerator, split unit air conditioners which can be used on board a vessel,” he said