The dust is yet to settle over comment made by the President, Nigerian Association of Masters Mariners (NAMM), Capt. Ade Olopoenia, over the operation of privately run maritime training institutions. During a press conference recently, Olopoenia said that private maritime academies are illegal since they are not accredited by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).
Speaking with YUSUF OLUWASEUN, proprietors of some of the private academies did not take kindly to the Master Mariner’s comment.
Sadoh Chris, the public relation officer, Star Maritime Academy, Ogun
We as an institution are not bothered about what the so-called Master Mariners have said. We believe it is their opinion and they are entitled to it. Stars Maritime as a maritime academy is registered as a corporate body under the relevant accrediting body in this country.
As far as Stars Maritime is concerned, we have met all the necessary requirements for running a maritime academy in Nigeria and the world in general. For instance, we have the clearance of the Federal Ministry of Education, the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) and these are the apex bodies that can register polytechnics and monotechnics in Nigeria. So we are in order and we are not bothered about what they said.
On the accreditation with NIMASA, he said, “Our school is on the process of getting the approval of NIMASA that happened to be the highest maritime body in Nigeria. We have written to them and we are on that process.”
Alex Okuwashi, Rector certified institute of shipping, Lagos
The Master Mariners are speaking from the point of ignorance. They are ignorant of the reality on ground. Maritime institutions exist under certain laws in Nigeria. Also, the law that recognizes maritime institutions worldwide including Nigeria is official registration by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and accreditation by NBTE.
As a Nigerian institution, once you are accredited by NBTE and the Federal Ministry of Education, that school becomes nationally and internationally acceptable. Therefore for a master mariner to say indigenous maritime institutions are not recognized means they are speaking from the point of ignorance. Many of them are ignorant of the fact that the institutions are existing under the law.
They are not the spokesman of any of our institutions so they don’t have any right to talk about institution. They are not an accrediting body so they don’t know any of the institutions that are accredited. They are only master mariners because of their training and that does not make them internationally acceptable.
Calling for NIMASA’s accreditation is only meant for those schools that train seafarers and not those who study maritime shipping or transport and logistics that are relevant to maritime operations.
They are only talking about seafaring which is just one aspect of shipping. They think if you talk about shipping it is all about seafarers? That is not correct because seafaring is just a small aspect of shipping. What about people that go onboard a ship? What about the other logistics aspect of maritime that has to do with agency management, ports administration, shipping, freight forwarding, ship design, naval architecture to mention just a few?
Their argument is lopsided; they don’t understand it. So because they have been trained as a marine engineer or as seafarers, the whole world of maritime is about them? That is not correct. So they need to understand that shipping is a very large profession; maritime is a very large profession that covers several other professions.
In Nigeria today, for our institution to be recognized that institution must be registered by CAC to become a body corporate, depending on the training whether it is diploma and above, you need the licensing of NBTE and Federal Ministry of Education and all the institutions that have been registered by NBTE admit their students through JAMB because that is the accrediting body for institutions that are running diploma or above.
There are some that are not colleges but they constitute themselves as training institutions that run short courses. They provide facilities for short course training for people. These training centres get accreditation from arbitration and not NBTE.
They don’t have opportunity to offer diploma but they offer programmes based on STCW ‘95 accredited by IMO and once they have trained people on these, the individual person takes the certificate to NIMASA for counter endorsement.
Denis, Global maritime Academy, Delta
The statement will discourage the private sector from doing their best in the maritime industry. The Federal Government institutions – Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron and the Federal College of Fisheries and Oceanography – alone cannot meet the manpower need of this country, so the private sector must be encouraged by stakeholders and not discouraged as the master mariners are doing.
Registered private academies in the country must be encouraged to help in turning our seafarers that will be used in the maritime industry.
I disagree with their statement that our schools are not recognized because as I speak with you now, I have two students of my academy that are on board ships in India and they are doing well. What we do is that we monitor their progress. We have over 15 cadets on the field but I am proud to tell you that we have two doing well. It depends on individual students. We monitor them right from school and they do their mandatory at the Regional Maritime Academy (University) in Ghana and immediately they were picked.
We have the approval to train students, we are registered and we have the capacity to train cadets or seafarers to meet with the demand of the maritime industry.