What The Convener, Sylvanus Obasi Told Participants At 6th AMSAY Conference

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The Convener of the popular AMSAY Conference and Chief Executive of Platforms Communications, Mr Sylvanus Obasi thrilled about 300 audience at the just concluded 6th edition of the Annual students/youth conference with his impressive opening speech which set the tone for a critical discussion at the conference.

In his insightful welcome address, the frontline maritime journalist maintained that future of Nigerian maritime sector can only be secured when the future of Nigerian Maritime students who are the future leaders of the industry is secured.

Platform Reporters got you covered with the full text of the Welcome Address as presented by Mr Sylvanus Obasi at the occasion. Below is the excerpts. Enjoy!



Today is another May 27 2022; another Children’s Day. A day set aside by the United Nations to celebrate Children all over the world. A day also set aside by Platforms Communications to celebrate Nigerian maritime students as our Children in the sector. So permit me to begin by saying ‘Happy Children’s Day to all of us’. After all, we all are someone’s children. The Celebration of Children’s Day on 27th May each year by the UN and Platforms Communications’ choice of hosting this Annual Maritime Students and Youth Conference on the same May 27 each year underscores the need for us to think about Succession plan. The idea is for maritime operators, government agencies and professional bodies as parents in the sector to use this same day to be with these students as our children, listen to them, guide them and help them navigate through their challenges so they can successfully take over from us when we are gone. 

Distinguished Guests, ladies and gentlemen, it is on this premise that the AMSAY Conference, also known as ‘A Day With Nigerian Maritime Students’ aims to further awaken the consciousness of Nigerian maritime operators and government authorities to the undeniable fact that the future of our industry lies in the hands of these our children who are students today. Seated here are the future DGs of NIMASA! Seated here are future MDs and Chief Executives of NPA, NIWA, Shippers Council and the likes. I see in this hall, future Professors and experts that will take over from the likes of Prof Capt Sule Abiodun,  Dr Chris Asoluka, Prof Callistus Ibe, Prof Samuel Iyiola, Dr Mrs Felicia Mogo and the likes: students who will rise to become captains of maritime industry in the nearest possible future. 

So if truly we want to secure the future of our industry, we must first secure the future of these students. If we want to secure our future maritime investments and businesses, we must first secure adequate capacity development of these young ones. If the likes of SIFAX Group, Starzs Investment Company, LADOL, ENL Consortium, Sea Transport Services Nig Ltd, Intels and other maritime giants want to maintain their business empires, they must take very seriously issues affecting these students because these are the people who will take over from them in the next 10, 20 or more years to come. 

A section of cadets at the 6th AMSAY Conference

The time to think about succession plan is now! Time to plan for the future of our children is now! No more paying lip service to the challenges facing Nigerian maritime students. No more playing to the galleries. As Convener of this Conference and one who closely interacts with these students, I know some maritime students who after waiting and searching fruitlessly for onboard placement decided to abandon their maritime careers and go into other ventures. I know a certain NSDP graduate who attempted suicide some years back due to the despair of not having sea-time to enable him advance his career. Today, a good number of maritime graduates and cadets have taken to crimes such as sea robbery, illegal bunkering, even as some others have joined the notorious yahoo boys with it’s attendant ritual killings due to lack of jobs and career development opportunities. 

Barr Temisan Omatseye, Former DG NIMASA and other dignitaries at the 6th AMSAY Conference

In view of this ladies and gentlemen, you will agree with me that today’s occasion is very crucial and the central theme of this year’s AMSAY Conference is truly germane as we are set to thoroughly examine the issue of job creation for the teeming Nigerian youths through the maritime sector. In doing this through the Lead Paper Presentation entitled, “The Youths and the Prospects of Job Creation Through Maritime Sector: Maximizing Cabotage, Local Content and Everything In-between”, we hope to explore all avenues, policies, sub-sectors and factors that could facilitate the chances of more job creation in the sector. 

More so, in the second paper presentation entitled, “Addressing Contemporary Issues & Challenges Facing Cadets/Seafarers In 21st Century Maritime Sector”; we also hope to expose and proffer solutions to issues of quality education and trainings for maritime students; issues of training vessels and sea-time, issues of Certificates of Competence and Discharge Books, including the new challenges which new technological advancements in maritime such as unmanned ships, robotics and the likes pose to the future of cadets and seafarers globally. Like a vessel manned by competent crew, I have no doubt that our competent speakers, moderators, discussants and other resource persons will do justice to the theme and topics of our Conference today.

Another cross section of participants at the conference

On this note, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, I warmly welcome you all to 6th AMSAY Conference. I welcome and appreciate all our Resource Persons who left their very busy schedules to be with us in order to allow maritime students tap from their wealth of experience and knowledge once again. I welcome and appreciate all maritime schools and students who have come from far and near to be part of this year’s Conference. In no small measures, I also welcome and appreciate all our partners, supporters and volunteers of AMSAY Conference whose support in one way or the other made it possible for us to be here today. 

Other dignitaries and participants at the 6th AMSAY Conference

As we get set for the programmes of the day, I wish you all fruitful discussions, but permit me to congratulate in advance some of the 2020 set of graduates who would be honoured today with Best Graduated Maritime Students Awards for their academic excellence; and especially to that one exceptional student who would later emerge winner of the maiden 2022 AMSAY Conference Speech Making Competition which is a new concept we introduced into the Conference this year. To these outstanding students, I say congratulations in advance. 

Finally, Distinguished Guests, ladies and gentlemen, thank you all for coming, feel welcome as always and God bless you all!