Experts Charge Nigerian Youth To Develop Needed Competencies For Maritime Profession

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…Want NIMASA To Deploy MV Horten For Cadets Training

Panelists at the Maritime Students Conference

The 2017 Maritime Students Conference ended last Friday with a call from Maritime experts and practitioners urging the youth to develop relevant competence and character capable of making them to excel in their maritime careers.

This unanimous call was made by dignitaries who made presentations as speakers and discussants at the Conference.

Speaking while making a paper presentation at the occasion, the Rector of Lagos Aviation and Maritime Business Academy, Dr Emeka Udowu revealed that many captains and master mariners complain bitterly about lack of professional competence being exhibited by most Nigerian youth who work as cadets onboard vessels.

On his own, the Principal Partner, Akabogu and Associates, Barr Emeka Akabogu told the students that they was no need for one to seek employment, unless the employee can truly add value to the employer’s system. He maintained that many maritime companies are ready to employ only competent persons who can add value to their businesses.

” A lot of Maritime students have come to me, asking for employment. As a maritime law firm, personally, I always have a need to employ. But most times, you discover that some of these students can’t add value to the system you have in place”.

“I want to use this opportunity to tell maritime students that it is not all about graduating and seeking for employment. You need to be able to add value to the company you want to work for. If you know you don’t have the necessary Skills that will make you add value to a company, don’t bother seeking for employment. Get the value – adding Skills first, equip yourself with those Skills before you go seeking for employment”, Akabogu stated.

Segun Awoyinfa, Best Graduated Shipping & Admiralty Law Student (From UNILAG) receiving Award of Academic Excellence from Mr Tolu Agbona, of Ofianyi Chambers. Mr Sylvanus Obasi, CEO, Platforms Communications standing by.

Also speaking, the Acting Chairman, Society of Nigerian Mariners, Engr Olu Akinsoji stated that the institutional problems in the country have affected the youth and their profession. He called on government to address the institutional problems so the youth would have a change of attitude in their chosen professions.

Similarly speaking while delivering a special address to the student, the Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority, Ms Hadiza Bala Usman said that owing to the growing demand for domestic gas in Nigeria, maritime institutions needs to  incorporate bunkering practice into their curriculum and intensify training on handling of dangerous and hazardous cargos.

The NPA boss who was represented by the General Manager, Monitoring and Compliance, Nigerian Ports Authority, Capt. Iheanacho Ebubeogu, noted that since the economy is diversifying into areas of refining its products, it is pertinent for maritime institutions to respond and groom the younger generation in the handling of the hazardous cargoes.

“The maritime environment in Nigeria today is a book to read. We are diversifying our economy, diversifying towards three areas – solid minerals, agriculture and trying to refine our products which is what Dangote is doing now.

“The demand for domestic gas is increasing now; the schools have to respond to the handling of those types of cargoes because they are all going to be trans-shipped by ships and are all going to be handled in the ports.

“Therefore, port designs, construction, training of manpower that work in this industry and everything surrounding it must speak to all these new prospects that are coming up”, Ebubeogu stated.

On the employment benefits from the new frontiers, Ebubeogu said that, “it is a core sectional activity in the maritime industry and it can create an unbelievable employment for the country.”

“I want to implore maritime institutions in the country to now embark on curriculum that has to do with bunkering practice, because gas is a higher duty code due to its explosiveness and dangerous nature. I want to also urge institutions to intensify their trainings on dangerous cargoes like gas because in the next 10 years majority of homes will go on liquefied and natural gas,” he said.

Capt Adewale Ishola and Rear Admiral Ombo (rdt) at the event. 

Meanwhile, the federal government has been called upon to get the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA),  and everybody concerned to find out what is tying down a vessel, MV Horten at the Marina, saying that the vessel could be used to train cadets in the country.

Speaking while moderating a session at the conference, a retired navy officer and CEO Siempre Consult Rear Admiral Godswill Ombo (rtd) revealed that the vessel, a mother vessel to six other vessels that had been operating with NIMASA ovetime before this administration came through the Global West Vessels Specialists and had not gone anywhere since it came into the nation’s waters.

According to him,” That vessel used to be affiliate of the Norwegian Navy. It used to serve as the vessel for the King of Norway when its original vessel was under repairs. The vessel used to serve as a training vessel and even as a command and control vessel for NATO in Norway. So, it has all the facilities, it has room to take up to 135 and can be extended to take up to 150 cadets onboard for training purposes. It is there on our waters wasting away and it is painful. If that vessel sinks today, the entire world will laugh at Nigeria and we are here crying for training vessels when we have one on our waters.

“Whatever delay that is tying that vessel from not being used, this country should quickly look at it and make that vessel operational for the training of the youths so that apart from taking them to get cargo onboard, the engineering students among them should be able to go into the engine room, work with the engine and get their competencies as engineers.

“The Deck officers should be able to get there and make sure they can take the ship out to the sea and bring it back alongside, that means it gives them all that they need to get their OOW certificates and as they grow later, they can get all the competencies for cargo carrying and all that. But it gives them that basic training a seaman must know either deck or engine room”.

“I am imploring the government to get NIMASA and everybody concerned including the lawyers to find out what is tying that vessel down that it cannot be used in this country. It is painful”.

He noted that the very critical thing for the students was for them to get their certificate of competencies to work on vessels, adding that without a sea time experience, they can’t get it.

“You have a vessel that can take a hundred and thirty of them or so being tied and it is wasting. Without them getting their sea time, they cannot work on any vessel either local or foreign. The first thing they must have after school is to get their sea time, that is their OOW or their certificate of competency”, he said.

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