Master mariner decries dearth of qualified manpower for Nigeria’s maritime sector

Capt. Dennis Osah, former President of NAMM
A former President of the Nigerian Association of Master Mariners (NAMM), Capt. Dennis Osah, has expressed concern over the shortage of indigenous manpower to run Nigeria’s maritime sector in spite of maritime training schools.

 Osah told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that the trend had made expatriates to dominate the nation’s maritime sector.
 He attributed foreign dominance of the maritime sector to the failure of the authorities to accord priority to the quality of training offered by the nation’s maritime training schools.
“We will continue to find it necessary to import expatriates to do one or two things when by now we should have had sufficient manpower to run maritime affairs within this country.
“The schools that are being run; I am afraid, the products that are coming out of them may be getting a lot of theoretical training but not much by way of practical training.
“Because even the facilities that may be made available may not be properly installed.
“If they are installed, they may not be maintained, and if they are maintained, those who are qualified to use them and train people in them may not be there.
 “Because they are not being properly paid or the general package is not good enough to attract them from their present jobs to go into those areas.
 “The schools may not even be properly funded, or if being properly funded, funds not being properly utilised.
 “We know what the situation is in this country, with respect to how funds are corruptly used for other purposes other than for the purpose for which they are meant.”
 According to Osah, Nigeria has failed to put into good use the vast potential of maritime life for utmost economic benefits.
 “The maritime aspect of life in Nigeria is quite vast and we cannot really sufficiently satisfy it.
 “There are all these fisheries; those who go to sea to fish; there are offshore rigs; there are offshore vessels; which service the offshore rigs and platforms and sea- point mooring buoys.
 “There are pilotage opportunities in the ports authority for those who work in harbours and opportunities in NIMASA, in the Ministry of Transport and even now in schools.
 “Universities,  Schools of Navigation and many companies like Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc, Dangote and Green lines and such other big conglomerates.
 “They have vessels servicing their affairs like bulk cargo, bulk cement, fertiliser, bulk rice, bulk sugar, things like that.
 “So, these are all areas where seamen can fit in. It is very vast.

 “The problem is that we are not sufficiently organised to get the utmost from all these areas of endeavour.’’