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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.

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