AMANO Raises Alarm Over Insufficient Number of Lecturers At MAN Oron, Tasks Oyetola to Increase Academy’s Budget

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…Says Nigeria Lacks Data of its Captains, Seafarers

By DAPO OLAWUNI

The Alumni of Maritime Academy of Nigeria Oron (AMANO) has raised concerns about the lack of professional mariners and lecturers at the academy, despite the laudable reforms that has been made by the Rector of the academy, Commodore Emmanuel Duja Effedua.

R-L: Secretary General of AMANO Capt Garba Gajere, President of AMANO, Emmanuel Maiguwa Gankino, Chairman BOT, Capt Jide Olugunwa and another executive of the association during a press briefing in Lagos on Tuesday

Speaking at a press briefing in Lagos on Tuesday, President of AMANO, Emmanuel Maiguwa Gankino lamented that despite the remarkable transformation achieved at the Maritime Academy in terms of infrastructure and training equipment, the Academy is struggling to attract the needed professionals to meet its obligations.

Maiguwa called on the Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola to increase the budget allocation to the academy to ensure employment of needed qualified professionals.

He urged Oyetola to consider special intervention funding that will enable the academy to adequately match professional mariners’ compensation to that of the private sector to attract qualified professionals into the system.

The association also expressed concerns that Nigeria does not have a database of its manpower capacity, especially the number of its Captains and Seafarers.

Maiguwa while delivering a paper titled “The State of Affairs on Maritime Capacity Development in Nigeria” noted that one of the major challenges of MAN Oron, is that the condition of civil service vis-a-vis the budget available for contract employment, is insufficient to attract experienced mariners who are required to provide tutorship to the cadets.

“We have also observed that the country does not have records of its citizens who have acquired Class 1 licenses under the Nigerian or other foreign administration. The implication is that the country does not know its CAPACITY and GAP.

“Understanding our manpower capacity/GAP in specialised areas is critical to developing the Marine and Blue Economy.

“We call on the Ministry to work with NIMASA and ensure that a quality database backed by law is developed to serve as a source of policy guidance and public information tools that will aid the growth of the maritime industry.

“We refer to the laudable steps taken by the leadership of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) around 2013 to bring in at least 60 professional mariners, including class 1 captains and
chief engineers.

“However, subsequent administrations still need to sustain this initiative to ensure succession plans. Those engaged in 2013 have been in a proper placement debate/conflict with the agency, significantly affecting their performance and preventing the Agency from deriving value from the presence.

“We understand that even though the agency has carried out significant employment since 2014, the employment did not bring marine professionals as required by IMO to maintain the standard required for the Nigerian Maritime Administration. We call on the Administration and the Minister to review the gap alongside the last IMO Member State Audit Scheme (IMSAS) through an independent committee that will recommend actionable steps.

“We are equally concerned about a significant decline in “Capacity Vessels” availability to support maritime capacity development.

“It is important to recognise that seafarers’ training, especially for officers, does not end at the point of acquiring OOW.

“The officers must be on suitable vessels consistently to achieve a class one certification. This training phase can only be successful when suitable and gainfully employed vessels are available in the industry. It is one thing to acquire a vessel but another to ensure her gainful employment.

“Currently, Only the Oil and Gas Maritime Offshore sector which is domiciled inside the maritime industry is providing some considerable number of platforms. However, this sector alone cannot provide all the key elements needed to develop Nigeria’s potential due to the limitation of vessel size and trading areas it presents.

“We understand that there are political exigencies in leadership composition within government agencies. However, we encourage those given these opportunities to fully engage with practitioners within the industry to understand the challenges and work out a pathway to developing our potential collectively.

“AMANO wishes to resonate a clarion call to other stakeholders both within and outside the industry to support this cause, bearing in mind that the quality of our future generation is as good as the quality of the education given to them.

“It must go further to provide a platform for professionally trained to support the nation’s growth and development. A progressing nation must begin discussing developing a blue economy with sustainably employed ships.

“For a ship to operate sustainably, it must have competent SEAFARERS, TECHNICAL MANAGERS, and highly competent FLAG ADMINISTRATION. With these in place, we will attract growth and attain our potential in Blue Economy” he said

On his part, the General Secretary of AMANO, Captain Garuba Gajere urged the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to dedicate a special fund to assist Nigerian shipowners in admitting seafarers for sea time experience.

Capt Gajere said “There should be a particular amount dedicated to support the shipowners in cadets training, this would relief the Shipowner of expenditures that has to do with cadet training, feeding, bed space, and the normal stipend they get at the end of the month.

“Secondly, we have to look at the utilization of marine professionals at government agencies, they need to go into the pool of seafarers that we have and give them employment.

“These agencies also have the responsibility of developing seafarers, at the end of the day, they need the seafarers experience for them to deliver on their own mandate.

“NIMASA needs seafarers, Shippers Council needs seafarers, NPA needs seafarers, NIWA and MAN Oron also needs seafarers, if they all leave the development of seafarers to the shipowners, how would they mann their own posts”

The Chairman Board of Trustees of AMANO, Capt Jide Olugunwa stated that AMANO as an association is over 40-years old with members cutting across diverse sectors of the maritime and related industry including Oil & Gas, Shipping, Transportation, Power, Engineering, Freight Forwarding, Port Management, Ship Building, Classification Societies, Navigation, Maritime Law and Administration, located in various parts of the world.

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