Master Mariners want overhaul of maritime training programmes in Nigeria



Capt. Saib Olopoenia, President of the Nigerian Association of Master Mariners (NAMM) has advised that maritime training institutes must offer international standard training for cadets to be relevant to the industry.
In an interview in Lagos, Olopoenia said that the establishment of more maritime schools was not a problem if only the cadets would be trained to meet international standard.

“You will agree that creating the schools is not the issue, but demands for quality as is expected internationally.
“The knowledge and practical experience gained will be used internationally, so, the training must take that into consideration,” Olopoenia said.
He said the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron, must get the required upgrade in spite of the new maritime schools being established by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).
It could be recalled that NIMASA recently established a maritime university in Okerenkoko in Delta.
Also giving his views concerning the proliferation of maritime schools, Capt. Dennis Osah, the first president of the association, said training of seafarers should not be for the sake of it.
Osah said besides ensuring that the students got quality training, which must meet international standards, jobs must also be created to absorb them even though the country lacked a national carrier.
“As the schools are established, they should ensure that the cadets get full training with sea-time. Jobs should be created too, having in mind that there is no national carrier.”
 The immediate past president of the association, Capt. Jimi Adu, said the establishment of additional maritime schools by NIMASA was not a problem in itself.
According to him, NIMASA should be given the benefit of the doubt for quality training in the schools since it can finance the schools.
He however expressed concerns about the Maritime Academy of Nigeria in Oron, saying that remarkable improvement had not been made in the school with regards to facilities.
“NIMASA can finance the establishment of more maritime schools and even get quality teachers to train the students, so I will give them the benefit of the doubt for now.
“It is however worrying to see that the maritime academy in Oron has not made any remarkable improvement in terms of facilities to train the cadets.
“There are no sea-going vessels where these cadets can easily be trained, because the standard training must involve sea-time.
“I am still of the opinion that firms with sea-going facilities to train these cadets can be given tax holiday for them to train a given number of cadets regularly,” he said.
Adu decried the challenge of qualitative training for cadets in the industry, pointing out that there may be succession difficulties if there was system failure in training at the present.
“It is sad to see engineering students on industrial training carrying files about in offices when they should be going through practical training.
“After now, who will build the bridges, the houses and navigate the vessels?”Adu noted.
The master mariner opined that international maritime trade and general economic growth hinged on human capacity development, and urged the maritime training schools in Nigeria to uphold international training standard.