Manpower development for the maritime industry requires a holistic approach, says the President of Nigerian Association of Master Mariners(NAMM), Capt. Saib Olopoenia.
Olopoenia made the remark at the end of year dinner gathering on Saturday, which held at the Rockview hotel in Apapa, Lagos.
The master mariner noted that in spite of interventions by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency(NIMASA) and other private efforts, the training of seafarers still needed an improved structure.
“For the seafarers’ training, interventions here and there by NIMASA and others by the private sector are not holistic enough. We need to look at it from the total package.
“We have submitted a document to the ministry of transport and we copied NIMASA, NPA, Shippers’ Council and NIWA, so that we can look at holistically, rather than taking it in piecemeal,” he said.
According to him, acquiring a training vessel for the purpose of training seafarers will not be the best approach even though it was a welcome idea.
He said the option for adequate training purpose would be to have the cadets trained on board trading vessels that could expose the cadets to the fullness of what is required.
“The training of seafarers goes beyond just having a training vessel, because there are limitations to the kind of training that can be done on training vessels.
The best training you can get is to get training on a ship that is actually doing trading worldwide and calling to ports, where you can be introduced to rudiments of seamanship
“However, getting a training vessel now will be a good start so that he cadets that are roaming around now will have the basic training,” he said.
Olopoenia disclosed that master mariners had submitted a document to the transport ministry advising consideration based on the number of maritime colleges that are needed.
He said for the purpose of meaningful development, it was useful to know the number of cadets who need training yearly so that adequate planning could be done for that purpose.
The master mariner president also noted that the inadequacy of ship repair facilities had caused a large percentage of vessels operating in Nigeria waters to go to neighbouring countries for dry-docking.
Referring to the regular gridlock at the Apapa area, he said the situation had led to avoidable economic losses to port users.
“The Apapa traffic gridlock continues to pose severe drawback to business activities within Apapa metropolis.
“Most of the week, vehicular movements grind to a halt, and road users are put through unnecessary trauma trying to get to their destinations.
“The economic losses to port users include ship delays,” he said.