By Ajibola Abayomi,
December 20, 2017
Barely 24 hours of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) flagged off sea time training of cadets under the National Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP), seafarers fraternity has cautioned the agency on its investment on foreign training for the interns.
The body urged NIMASA to look inward to empower and encourage local shipping capacity in Nigeria instead.
Deputy Secretary General of the Nigerian Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Senior Staff Association, Comrade John Okpono expressed concern over preference for oversea training for the cadet stating that the maritime academies in Nigeria must be carried along to meet international standards despite the sea time training of cadets abroad.
Okpono maintained that disbursement of the Cabotage Vessels Finance Fund (CVFF) was paramount in the nation’s shipping sector as it is a vehicle for addressing the shortfalls affecting the training of cadets on sea time experience.
The scribe noted that training of cadets under the NSDP would cost the federal government huge sums of money running to billions of naira, hence the acquisition of ships through CVFF can save cost.
He lamented that the 40 year-old Maritime Academy of Nigeria in Oron, Akwa Ibom State, and the School of Oceanography in Victoria Island, Lagos can favourably compete with the institutions engaged by the government on sea time programme if properly catered for.
Okpono said government should empower private maritime academies in a bid to assist in shipping development in the country, pointing out that Nigeria’s private maritime school can change the fortune of the sector through government support .
On the huge funds sunk into the NSDP scheme, he said that “it is commendable that NIMASA has finally provided sea time training for cadets but we must also advise them that the capital flight is relatively too high when we consider the cost of air ticket, accommodation, feeding and training proper.