About 6000 cadets of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN) Oron, are believed to be lacking the mandatory sea-time experience.
This statistics was given by the President of the Maritime Reporters Association of Nigeria (MARAN) Mr. Bolaji Akinola, on Wednesday during the celebration of the World Seafarers’ Day.
Akinola however identified the establishment of a national carrier and the revival of the ailing businesses of indigenous ship owners as the solution to the challenges of sea-time for cadets.
He said, “After training as cadets, the most important thing to complete the training is sea-time, which is missing and have barred most of our cadets from moving to the next level.”
He continued that “the government must take this training seriously that they should acquire training vessels for the nation’s maritime institutions.”
Akinola also charged government to use the Cabotage Vessel Financing Funds (CVFF) to acquire vessels for ship-owners, which can also be used to train cadets.
“It is a shame that 10 years after the enactment of cabotage law, the welfare of seafarers are even worse than pre -cabotage regime. If foreign vessels still traverse our waters unchecked, the story will not change, but when indigenous ship-owners have ships that are working, it will be easy to put our cadets onboard the ships.”
He also said that re- floating the shipping line would change the welfare of the Nigerian seafarers.
“Should we have a national shipping line, our poorly paid seafarers will be better remunerated and it will also have multiplier effect on the nation’s economy .”
Also speaking at the event, the National President of the Nigerian Merchant Navy officers & Water Transport Senior Staff Association, Engr. Mathew Alalade, lamented the neglect of seafarers by the government.
Alalade said that every year, too many seafarers either got injured or lost their lives in maritime accident.
“More often than not, their injuries and death go largely unrecorded and are soon forgotten by all but close friends and families.”
He urged government and the port authority to treat seafarers as partners in the fight against terrorism and facilitate their access to ports and shore facilities.
Alalade said that seafarers had a huge impact on the development of the Maritime Sector and the National Economy at large.
He said, “Seafarers’ capacity building would help in addressing capital flight occasioned by ship repairs abroad and aid Nigerian cadets being trained in Naval Architecture in anticipation to achieving the spirit of cabotage law, which seeks to make vessels used for coastal trade to be built in Nigeria.”
He concluded that the seafarers capacity building was capable of reducing youth restiveness and poverty.
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