As part of its mandate to gainfully engage youths in the Niger Delta region, the Ministry on Niger Delta Affairs, on Friday sent 30 seafarers it trained to different parts of the world for sea time experience.
Speaking at the boarding ceremony of the 30 marine cadets in Lagos, Niger Delta Affairs Minister, Dr. Stephen OriseOru said the seafarers were trained under its skills acquisition trainingprogramme.
He said, “In order to get seatime training for our cadets, Messrs Generic College submitted a proposal to the Ministry showing competence in finding sea time for the trained seafarers.”
The Minister also stated further that the consultant had guaranteed employment for the trainees after their sea-time training on board vessels across the world.
Oru said the Ministry is doing everything possible to ensure its mandate if training youths in the region is achieved.
“One of the mandates of the Ministry among others is the promotion of training for non-militant youths from the Niger Delta region in relevant skills to enable them become employed.
“In line with this, the Ministry has trained over 249 youths as seafarers between 2010 and 2011. The training was carried out by Joe Marine Institute, Warri and the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), Oron.”
“I can assure you that all the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs trained seafarers will be employed by shipowners immediately after their sea time.
“My attendance of this ceremony is to assure you that the government of Nigeria cares about your skills acquisition, training and value the contribution that is expected of you towards the growth and development of Nigeria upon the completion of your seatime and your being gainfully employed.
“This training is an essence to keep our youths employed in an area that are specialized not menial jobs that add no value to the economy of the country. Also, we have a dedicated interest in this training because it will be a fire runner to other youths in the region,” he said.
Speaking earlier, the Managing Director of Generic Maritime College, Brown Songhonron said the training was to breed a new generation of seafarers who would take over from the present crop of aging mariners.
“It is worthy to note that about 19 years ago, the average age of seafarers was 39 but now, the average age is56 years,” he said.
He also disclosed that Nigerian water has been infested with foreign seafarers even when there are a lot of unemployed youths in the country.
In his address, President, Shippers’ Association Lagos State (SALS), Rev. Jonathan Nicol said: “We must commend the Federal Government for realising that there is need to train our youths to be seafarers. I was at a seafarers’ event recently, and I realised that the current crops of master mariners are aging within the age bracket of 75 to 80 years.
“Now, there are people to replace them in the persons of these youths going abroad for sea time training.
“It is a milestone achievement and worthy of commendation that the government is silently solving the capacity gap in the industry.”
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