Experts Push for Manpower Devt, Professionalism in Shipping Sector

Experts in the maritime industry on Tuesday at the fifth edition of the Nigeria Maritime Expo(NIMAREX) said development and growth of the sector will depend on capacity building and professionalism.
Capt. Saib Olopoenia, the President of the Nigerian Association of Master Mariners (NAMM), said the issue of well- qualified personnel to manage the industry was critical to its sustainable development.

He said that the Maritime Academy of Nigeria(MAN) in Oron, Akwa Ibom, lacked the capacity to produce seafarers of international standard since they could not give the cadets seatime training.
“The right training makes a seafarer marketable to the world, but the maritime academy does not give the cadets the required seatime training.
“It is seen that a number of youths are eager to become seafarers, but what about the right training for them?” he noted.
According to the NAMM President, Nigeria at the present has about 10,000 seafarers, which he said was inadequate to run the nation’s maritime industry.
He said Nigeria could however make huge economic gains and impact just like the Philippines does through seafarers development and export that rakes in as much as $4.6 billion annually.
Speaking at the occasion also, Rev. Jonathan Nicole, the President of the Shippers Association of Lagos State, said the Nigerian cadets could begin to get seatime training only when the shipowners acquire vessels.
Nicole, however, said that it would take the stakeholders coming together to set up a fund that would be geared towards vessel financing.
“We can train our seafarers in the requisite seatime, so, I challenge stakeholders to come together to set up a fund to enable us acquire vessels over time.”
Dr Eugene Nweke, the President of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders, also said that capacity building in all sub-sectors of the maritime industry remained critical.
He said it was sad to see that young officers still lacked seatime experience, which is a a requirement for international standard.

Nweke also urged government to dedicate adequate funding to development if the industry.