By DAPO OLAWUNI
Maritime expert, Violet Olaitan Williams, Sunday made a critical appraisal of the Nigerian Maritime sector and concluded that a Catch Them Young programme was expected.
Williams dwelt on the efforts by Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), the Ocean Ambassadors Foundation and others to ensure the growth of the nation’s economy, including early exposure of children to opportunities in this strategic sector.
It was the fifth yearly School to Sea Excursion press conference in Lagos.
Williams, speaking on the importance of the blue economy to students in Nigeria, said Ocean Ambassadors Foundation was working to bridge the gap between the human capital requirements in the maritime sector in relation to available manpower.
The maritime sector chief said this lacuna naturally led to the infiltration of the Nigerian maritime labour space by foreigners.
‘’We believe this trend is counterproductive and concerted efforts to reverse same would be in the overall interest of the maritime industry’’
This, she said, was responsible for a strategic action plan introduced by the Foundation with a view to sensitizing students of secondary school age to appreciate opportunities in the blue economy essentially (sea based and shore based) careers in transportation, trade and tourism.
‘’Ocean Ambassadors Foundation has therefore taken it as a major responsibility to join the global campaign for stimulating youth interest in maritime sector career’’ she said.
Specifically, she said the action plan was being pursued by the organization to prepare leaders of tomorrow in ship building and maintenance, vessel parts, fabrication, navigation, surveying, marine engineering, marine economics, international trade, maritime logistics, supply chain, ship brokerage, ship building, Naval Architecture, marine insurance and marine law.
Williams announced the date for the 2020 Ocean Ambassadors Foundation School to Sea Excursion.
‘’The 2020 Seaport and Ship Experience programme will take place on Thursday, March 12, 2020 in Lagos’’
Williams who underscored the main goals of the foundation said the Catch Them Young programme was aimed at exposing young talents to careers in the maritime sector, initiating Ocean Ambassadors Club and eradicating joblessness through the vast opportunities in the sector.
She urged the Federal and State governments to introduce maritime subject in primary and secondary schools.
Williams also announced the date for the 2020 Maritime Quiz for private and public secondary schools in Lagos State.
‘’The quiz will take place in October at the University of Lagos’’
She urged the Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu to key into the blue economy vision of the organization and make maritime a priority of the administration’’
‘’Lagos should go beyond ferry services’’ she added.