The Rector, Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron, Joshua Okpo, has urged the Federal Government to make a policy mandating vessel owners to place cadets of the Academy on board their vessels for training.
Okpo made this known on Tuesday at the 2015 edition of the Nigeria Maritime Expo (NIMAREX) held at Eko Hotel and Suites, Lagos.
He said the government should make it a policy that vessel owners should train Nigerian cadets on their vessels.
His words, “There needs to be a policy from the government that would say MAN Oron should be allowed to place at least two cadets on ships that operate in our Cabotage area,” he said.
Okpo further stated that if the vessel owners could help train seafarers on their vessels, seatime won’t be a problem for the cadets.
“If the Federal Government should put this above stated policy in place, we won’t have the present seatime problem we are having on our hands.”
Meanwhile, the Rector has lauded the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) over its support for the Academy.
The Rector affirmed that the soaring profile the Academy is witnessing could be traced to the financial support NIMASA has been offering the institution.
Okpo said this during the visit of the Agency’s pre-audit team led by the Agency’s Director of Shipping Development, Capt. Warredi Enisuoh.
The Rector noted that MAN Oron, being the leading Maritime institution in the country is saddled with the mandate of training personnel for both the national and global Maritime market and therefore called for cooperation from all staff, stating that the pre-audit exercise is mandatory if the Academy is to successfully upgrade to meet the degree awarding status requirement in line with the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) standards.
He intimated the visitors that the Academy, when it achieves degree awarding status, would still be taking short courses as well as courses at the National and Higher National Diploma levels, thereby producing lower class, middle class and higher class manpower for the industry as recommended by the IMO.
“We are training manpower-personnel for the world, so whatever we do here must have international standard,” he said.
Okpo called for an increase in the Agency’s statutory allocation to the Academy from 5% to something more substantial. He also informed the team that the Academy is troubled with a number of issues such as security matters, cadets seatime experience, procurement of more simulators, completion of the boatyard, repairs and maintenance workshop project, purchase of another giant generating set, completion of ongoing hostels and other infrastructural projects.
“The report from World Maritime University, Malmo, says we should upgrade, we need intervention to complete the construction of our hostels and classroom projects. We need funds to put our cadets on sea, so we plead with you to increase our 5% allocation”, he requested.
On his part, the representative of the Director General of NIMASA and the Agency’s Director of Shipping Development, Capt. Warredi Enisuoh, applauded the efforts of the Rector at piloting the Academy to an enviable height as evidenced in his achievements in the institution and asserted that the partnership between MAN Oron and NIMASA has come to stay and will continue to be progressive.
He emphasised that IMO has strict requirements when it comes to training of cadets and assured the Rector and management of the Academy that as time goes on NIMASA will help it develop courses that are critical to the Maritime industry.
He decried the lack of Nigerian seafarers in ships plying the territorial waters of Nigeria, describing it as the major challenge facing shipping development in Nigeria, and recognised as significant the role of the Academy in training seafarers who will curb the menace.
He stated, “The only way we can lower the operational costs of our local shipping companies is to train Nigerians who can work in the companies, because the cost of employing an expatriate is expensive and is weighing the local industries down. The whole problem will be a thing of the past if we can get it right here in the Academy. Not only will we have our own industry covered but we will also be exporting manpower.”
“As we continue to partner, there’s no doubt your income is going to grow. I am very happy that you as professionals have made the commitment to stay here and let me assure you that the Director General will not overlook these problems,” he affirmed.
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