Thursday, July 13, 2017

Upgrade Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron, Akwa Ibom State, to university, stakeholders tell FG


Etim Ekpimah, Uyo

Stakeholders in the maritime industry have called on the Federal Government to fast-track its efforts towards implementing policies that will enable the upgrade of the nation's premier maritime education and training institution, Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron, Akwa Ibom State.

They maintained that the upgrade would enable the institution's products to compete favourably with their counterparts worldwide.

The President General of Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, Mr. Adewale Adejanju, said the process would curb excessive government's expenditure on seafarers' sponsorship to foreign countries for satisfactory Sea Going Certification, as the training could be done locally.

According to a statement signed and made available to our correspondent on Wednesday by the school's Director of Information, Mr. Siddi Mkpandiok, Adejanju stated this during the 2017 International Seafarers' Day in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

He also stressed the need to train and re-train seafarers to enable them to be abreast with current trend in the industry and the provision of training vessels for the use of cadets of the nation's maritime education and training institution.

He observed that the theme of the year's event, 'Seafarers Matter,' succinctly highlighted and distinguished the contributions of seafarers to the economic development of the nation in particular and of the world at large.

He added that the solutions above would be apt in tackling the dearth of indigenous seafarers, adding that Nigeria, as the maritime hub in the African region, must continually contribute to the development and sustenance of the industry.

"I wish to strongly urge the Federal Government to consolidate its noted efforts by initiating and implementing processes and policies that would enable the upgrading of our maritime institutions, especially MAN, Oron," he said.

Earlier, the Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, said that his agency was committed to the development of human capacity.

He further urged indigenous shipowners and other employers of labour in the nation's shipping industry to prioritise engaging qualified Nigerian seafarers in gainful employment.

The director-general also said the National Joint Industrial Council had fashioned out a decent wage and improved working and living conditions for the seafarers, in line with the best practices.

He emphasised that the agency would leave no stone unturned in ensuring full implementation of the Cabotage Act for the benefit of Nigerians.

"Cabotage Act is undergoing review and it is the agency's position that the review will take care of all the grey areas, especially as regards processing and granting of waiver to give some level of advantage to Nigerian seafarers, especially in the areas of employment and specialised training," he said.