By DAPO OLAWUNI
Even though the Certificate of Competency (COC) issued by the Ghana Maritime Authority (G.M.A) is believed to be one of the most recognized in Africa, fresh indications have emerged that the certificate is now being rejected by some foreign shipowners over suspicions of compromise.
Secretary General of Merchant Seafarers Association of Nigeria, Capt Alfred Oniye stated this in a chat with our correspondent.
Capt Oniye noted that only certificates from outside Africa are now being given preference because it is believed that these countries like America, United Kingdom, India among others, cannot compromise their seaferers certificate standards.
Few years ago, Ghana Certificate of Competency started gaining prominence over the certificate issued by Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) due to the neglect of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN)
Most Nigerian cadets after obtaining their first academic training in Nigeria, prefer to travel to Ghana for their mandatory professional courses.
However, Capt Oniye stated that “Ghana is widely embraced, but there are still vessels that would tell you that they don’t need certificate from Ghana because Ghana is becoming polluted now, such that you can walk in there and get the COC, Africa is still Africa”
“When you step to America, UK, India, then you are building for international standard because they would not compromise”
“We live in a country where you can get a drivers license even before you learn how to drive, but over there you have to know how to drive before you get drivers license” he stated.
While advising ypung cadets aspiring to become seafarers, Capt Oniye stated that “When you are trained in Nigeria for first academic training, when it comes to the professional which is the mandatory, I advise you step out of the country”
Our correspondent recall that some frustrated seafarers had taken to Social Media to express their displeasure over suspension of their examination fifteen (15) months after the COC preparatory courses began at MAN Oron.
The seafarers had sent an appeal to the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to intervene on the matter, saying that other flag-states have completed two batches of preparatory courses whilst that of Nigeria has remained at a stand still.
The seafarers had also taken to Twitter to demand for their COC results which is not forth coming months after their examination.
Capt Oniye assured that his association is making efforts to affect the fate of Nigerians seafarers positively. He said the association is no longer playing a media fight, but it is now relating directly with the presidency and influencing policies at the National Assembly.