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Maritime Academy of Nigeria has created marks of excellence- Master Mariners

…Share new formula for National Fleet, sea time negotiation for cadets

The Nigerian Association of Master Master Mariners (NAMM) says that the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN) Oron, Akwa Ibom, has built foundation that qualifies it for global rating.

President of the NAMM, Captain Tajudeen Alao said in an interview that the latest multifunctional simulator acquired by the academy has shot it to global heights, considering that the facility is most modern and with highly competent trainers handling it.

Alao said that a delegation of master mariners and marine engineers had been in the academy last week for examination moderation and made judgements from what they saw on ground.

“All applications are in this simulator. We went round and took pictures at the Academy, and we are impressed as installation is still going on.

“The simulator has capacity to take 30 students and another 30 and it is multifunctional. You can do engine and bridge and the two can be synchronized.

“Of great importance is the fact that they have Indian instructors and there are Nigerians who have been working with them from the beginning there too. So, this gives assurance of completeness; having the facility and globally qualified instructors.”

Appreciating the Rector of the Academy, Commodore Emmanuel Effedua (Rtd) for the Will to start with what matters, Alao said “For me, the first hurdle was reducing the number of cadets, and this has been achieved. The Rector has put in so much energy and focus and has driven it completely.

“So, when we are bringing people out, we can manage them, because if we had 800 cadets, even if we have national carrier we cannot take all of them.

“It makes sense when you see the new Nautical Block, the Engineering Lab. It is in fact a rebuilt institution and I am very impressed with the Academy now.”

Speaking on a key issue of sea time for cadet training, Capt. Alao said cadets would have limited opportunities when they are put on coastal trade vessels, thereby making it necessary to negotiate for platforms on international trade.

“When we put the cadets on coastal trade, it is exposure. But we don’t want to limit their work scope to coastal, we want them on international trade. And getting the platform on international trade is the challenge, Vis-a- Vis the people being trained under NSDP programme outside Nigeria. But, with what we have on ground here, we have to stop outside training,” Alao said.

He proposed a workable formula for a national fleet to complement the foundation training that cadets are receiving at the academy, so that the nation does not jeopardize a sustainable approach to its manpower development for the maritime industry.

“They were trying to partner with PIL, but it has gone underground. You don’t do that. You start afresh; form a company, bring experienced people to charter ships to carry your cargo. You have to negotiate your cargo. From there, you go on to build ships to suit your purpose and go on to expand.

“When the British people started with us, they started with Iran, Kuwait and we grew up together. So, you have to start with chartering a ship, move to two, then building one and buy more.”

He drew attention lessons from the Covid-19 pandemic, which makes it ultimately important for a country as Nigeria to have her own national fleet, just in case ships have difficulties beyond what is being experienced.

Alao also recalled that “With the war in Liberia, we could not get the merchant navy support to carry ship there. They were looking at how to carry the Army and their foodstuff to ECOMOG and to bring them back. They were looking at coastal ships. For our country, we sure need a national fleet.”

He, however, thinks that negotiations with Iran, which has the Iranian Tankers and the Iranian Shipping Line and Kuwait with a large fleet, for sea time for cadets, could be a welcome idea.

According to the master mariners president, he had proposed that idea to the National Maritime Authority (NMA) in 1997/98 when he returned from Iran, but the NMA did not follow through with it. “That can be revisited,” Alao added.




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