Acting Rector of the Maritime Academy (MAN) Oron, Mpkandiok Ante Mkpandiok has finally confirmed the fears of maritime industry stakeholders as he admitted that the quality of seafarers churned out by the school is well below acceptable standards.
Mkpandiok told newsmen in Lagos that the nation’s foremost maritime training institution lacks basic equipment like the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) simulator, which is indispensable in seafarers training.
GMDSS is an internationally agreed-upon set of safety procedures, types of equipment, and communication protocols used to increase safety and make it easier to rescue distressed ships, boats and aircraft. GMDSS training is mandatory for all seafarers.
And to make matters worse for MAN Oron, its counterpart in Ghana is way ahead in terms of training standards, with many Nigerians trooping to the West African country in search of better training.
“The Regional Maritime Academy in Accra, Ghana came into existence same time with Oron; today they can train up to Master Mariners and Chief Engineers. The academy is suffering. It may not be totally a problem of the management, funding is a major aspect and this is government’s fault.
“Most of the cadets, after their 2 years National Diploma in the academy are on the streets. They cannot make progress in their seafaring career because there is no berth on board a ship for them to do their 12 to 18 months training and without that aspect of the training, whatever they did in Oron is wasted and they go back to nursery school.
“This is the reason we are crying of dearth of maritime professionals in the industry because these people cannot go further or how will they qualify as seafarers? “I may not be totally right; it is like doctor who has not done his housemanship qualifying as a professional. You want to have qualified seafarers who have not gone to sea and to tell you, even some of them who are lecturing in the academy have not gone to sea.
“In the maritime education and training, the emphasis is not on paper qualification; that is why they call their own certificate, certificate of competency; how competent are you? It is a vocational programme,” he said.
But while the Acting Rector laments about funding, Nigeria’s Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, last week lashed out at successive managements of the academy for misappropriating a whopping N19 billion statutory allocation granted to the school by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).
Speaking at an industry forum in Lagos, Amaechi said successive managements of the academy in the last five years have nothing to show for the N19 billion they have received from NIMASA.
The Maritime Academy of Nigeria, formerly known as the Nautical College of Nigeria, was established in 1979 to provide education and training of shipboard officers and ratings and shore-based management personnel. The academy is funded with 5% of NIMASA’s revenue.
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