By DAPO OLAWUNI
Rector of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN) located in Oron, Akwa Ibom State, Commodore Duja Effedua has raised an alarm, saying that the academy was defrauded by a shipowner called Oil Flow, who in the process sabotaged an in-house sea time experience organised by the academy for cadets.
Effedua recounted the ugly incident while speaking at a maritime function in Lagos last week.
Açcording to him, haven been inundated by calls for sea time experience for cadets, the academy flagged off a programme called “Sea Experience” after entering into partnership with the shipowners association so as to use their vessels for training cadets of the academy.
“I had an interaction with the shipowners association, I invited them to my office, it was a brilliant talk, and we started up”
“A lot of critics came up to say the vessels are not good enough for sea time, but I told them not to worry because I was expecting us to have another update on the manilla convention in 2020 where they would be told that even with 100kilowarts you can still get your sea time”
“I called it Sea Experience, we did it, our cadets were there for four months, but I was discouraged because a company called Oil Flow chose to defraud the academy, this is the bitter truth”
“We had to drag them to court, the case is in court right now, so would not want to talk about it”
“I like the idea, we would continue,I just want you to know that somebody frustrated us and we cannot keep pretending about this” he stated
Effedua stated that presently, the academy is not lacking anywhere, and that the only challenge it has, is the absence of the National Fleet.
“People have talked about us having a training ship, it’s a beautiful idea, I love it, but there are many things they have not talked about.
“The training ship is there, but to maintain a ship is not easy, ask the shipowners, most of them are crawling and struggling to keep their vessels afloat because their is no business.
“If the academy has a ship, who is going to pay for it? Maybe the Ministry of Transportation, who maintains the ship? Our budget is limited, we are even struggling to perform with that budget, and you now add a bigger challenge” he said
Making a case for Nigerian shipowners, the MAN Rector said concession should be given to shipowners because many of their vessels have grounded due to the fact that it is not easy to keep a vessel afloat.
“If they have ships running internationally, government should give them some percentages and make them take Nigerian flag and colours to represent the country” he advocated.