Master Mariners charge FG to address duplication of functions by maritime agencies

…bemoan lack of seatime training for Nigerian cadets

The Nigerian Association of Master Mariners (NAMM) has called on the Federal Government to put an end to the problem of duplication of functions across the several agencies of government concerned in the maritime industry.

President, NAMM, Capt. Joseph Awodeha

President of the NAMM, Capt. Joseph  Awodeha made the call in Lagos at the weekend during the association’s quarterly paper presentation made by Retired Rear Admiral Godwill Ombo, with the theme “Coastguards and Navies: The roles and responsibilities of the Nigerian Navy."

Awodeha said there had been an obvious waste both economically and in human resources engagement as the agencies of government in the maritime industry engage in overlapping functions.

To that end, Awodeha said there is need for the federal government to review the acts establishing the different maritime agencies of government in order to assign specific functions to them.

The agencies include the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), as well as the Nigerian Navy, due to some functions they undertake.

Awodeha said: “We are suggesting to the government to revisit all the different acts of these agencies, so that they apportion responsibilities specifically to the different agencies.

“It is important, so that there is no confusion in implementation, and that we don’t waste resources duplicating our efforts while other areas are suffering.”

Speaking on the issue of  seatime training for  the Nigerian cadets, the NAMM President said it is disappointing that several cadets who were sent overseas for training came back without practical seatime experience.

He said the situation needs to be checked and corrected now if the Nigerian cadets expect to serve as professional mariners both locally and internationally.

“There is no point to send somebody abroad to train and at the end of the training he has no practical experience to carry out the job.

“So many cadets have been trained abroad but they have no practical experience to enable them function as marine engineers or professionals, which is needed to do the job.

“So, they just come back with academic qualification. But, until they get the seatime training they are not complete officers yet,” Awodeha said.

Ombo, had in his paper, highlighted the functions of the Nigerian Navy in ensuring maritime domain security by defending the nation’s territorial waters as well as protecting the economic zones.

He said that as part of the navy’s policing functions on water, it engages in “anti-piracy and illegal bunkering patrols, including internal security operations that are primarily asymmetric and rapidly changing, alone and in conjunction with  sister service.”

Ombo, however, noted that the navy could do much more to contain the numerous challenges evolving in Nigeria’s maritime environment, but that “she is currently seriously hampered by inadequate presence at sea.