MASTER MARINERS: Private maritime academies are illegitimate

The Nigerian Association of Master Mariners (NAMM) has described private maritime academies and training institutions in Nigeria as illegal because they are not recognized by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).

National President of the association, Capt. Ade Olopoenia, said only the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), Oron, Akwa Ibom State is recognized by IMO because it is the only maritime training institution registered by Nigeria at the world’s apex maritime regulatory body.

Speaking to SHIPS & PORTS DAILY during the unveiling of the new executive of the association in Lagos on Friday, Olopoenia said the academies are profiting from the desires of hapless and uninformed Nigerians to gain academic qualification.

to rip the unsuspecting students and parents off.

“Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron is the only recognized nautical college in Nigeria because that is the only academy the country submitted its name to IMO but we know that there are so many other maritime schools in Nigeria and sometimes it is so sad that unsuspecting students go to all these schools because they have nowhere to go after their graduation,” Olopoenia, who recently retired as the Director of Maritime Safety and Seafarers Standards of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), said.

He said his association will meet with the management of his former employer, NIMASA and other relevant stakeholders to discuss ways to tackling the unrecognised training institutions.

“They train people, collect lot of money from them and when they graduate, these students have nowhere to go because the schools that trained them have no requisite knowledge or teaching and academic staff to teach the students.

“The schools take the students for a ride. Because everybody wants to go to school, they rush into it,” he said even as he flayed the siting of the so-called nautical schools in non-coastal areas.

Olopoenia also said that Nigeria deserves to be a maritime trade hub for the West and Central African sub-region.

He said over 70 per cent of ships come destined for the sub-region come end up in Nigeria.

“Because of the conducive nature of our ports, many vessels arrive into the country. Also our transport corridor is very good so we have what it takes,’’ he said.

The master mariner said that port concessionaires were making efforts to invest in the development of port facilities.

He also said that there was the need to have maritime professionals in government agencies to develop and contribute to the development of the economy.

“We appeal to the government to appoint maritime professionals in its various agencies so that those who have the knowledge in maritime issues can contribute to the economy,” Olopoenia said.

He said that government should endeavour to appoint professionals in its agencies such as Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Nigeria Inland Waterways and the Nigerians Ports Authority so as to have succession plans.

“It is bad that in a government agency that is not handled by a professional, a person will be appointed and he starts his own process. As soon as he leaves another person comes and starts a new thing. This slows growth. Until we have professionals in these agencies including Maritime Academy, Oron, we will not achieve the desired target for the country,” Olopoenia said.

He advocated for partnership with various maritime agencies and stakeholders so as to find solution to challenges in the maritime sector.

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