A training ship may be procured for Nigeria’s premier maritime training institution, Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), Oron, Akwa Ibom State, next year, THISDAY checks have revealed.
To ensure that the project is realised, there are moves to include the cost of the training ship in the 2014 budget. The training vessel would be used to give the cadets in Nigeria the mandatory sea time experience, which is mandatory for the issuance of certificate of competency (CoC) for cadets worldwide.
Chairman, House Committee on Marine Transport, Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, who confirmed the development in a chat with THISDAY in Manila, Philippines, said it was very important that MAN, Oron has training vessel for its cadets.
According to him, it was the intervention of the IMO Secretary General of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), Mr. Koji Sekimizu, at the request of the committee during its visit to Liverpool, London that afforded the Nigerian cadets training abroad to have the privilege of having sea-time training integrated into their study.
Ugwuanyi, who represents Igboeze North/Udenu Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, revealed that the committee had earlier impressed upon on the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) on the need to acquire a training ship that could also be used by Navy and other related institutions which will add value to MAN, Oron and other institutions while NIMASA would be its custodian and operator.
The lawmaker, who has not hidden his passion to get the right policies in place in the maritime sector of the economy since he became the chairman of the committee, promised that its members would gladly and quickly approve the request in the NIMASA budget due to its importance to the development of the new crop of sea farers in the country.
“You cannot work in a ship when you do not have sea-time experience. It is just like you want to be a computer specialist when you have not seen a computer. This is the area we are interested in as legislators. Do your work and we shall do our own”, he said.
“We are happy that we are here in the Philippines. We are also happy that most of our students are here. But what is the number of people here compared with the numbers of people who would have ordinarily wanted to be part of the programme? So while we are praising NIMASA, we also want to use the opportunity to tell NIMASA to expand the scope of the programme so that it can accommodate more people”, Ugwuanyi said.
According to the legislator, he had challenged the authority of Philippines that Nigeria is not just in their country to under study their success in seafaring but is ready to surpass them.
He said the programme is a gigantic one that needs all the hands on deck. “The programme has the capacity to generate enormous revenue for government. Look at the Filipino seafarers who are abroad and contribute about N9 billion annually to their country. These maritime institutions where we train our cadets, we are in University of Lagos, UNN, Niger-Delta University and IBB University and of course in MAN, Oron. We are also in Philippines, Egypt, India, Liverpool, I think we are on our way”, he said.
Source: Thisday Newspaper