Implementing report of MAN Oron Ministerial Committee will improve quality of Nigerian seafarers- Maritime Operator
Maritime operator, Mrs. Iroghama Obuoforibo has urged on government to implement the report of the Chief Adebayo Sarumi led Ministerial Committee on the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN) Oron so as to improve quality of cadets churned out of the Academy and standards of the institution.
Obuoforibo who is the Chief Operating Officer of Starzs Investments recently spoke with newsmen during the stakeholders meeting convened in Lagos by Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) on plans to end cabotage trade waivers.
The COO said actualising the report of the committee would improve on the capacity of academy, and also save the maritime industry the problem of the dearth of employable seafarers plaguing the sector.
“I know a committee was set up about a year ago, to look into the issue of Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron.
“ That committee was chaired by Chief Bayo Sarumi. And they sumbitted a very robust report of their findings, because they spent about six months in the school, seeing everything as they were done daily.
“Even the IMO was brought in, a former Rector of the Regional Maritime Academy in Ghana was there as well for their contributions, since the Ghana system works. But, am not sure how much of the report findings have been implemented”, she stated.
Iroghama Obuoforibo stated that even though the current Rector of the school, Commodore Emmanuel Effedua has been working assiduously to improve the status of the school , the industry, especially NIMASA should needs to support the Academy more.
She said she believes that the implementation of committee’s report would grow MAN and contain the alarming shortage of seafarers the industry would face in the near future if nothing is done.
“He, (Rector, MAN) still needs the support and cooperation of NIMASA to fully achieve his objectives.
Currently, we run a fleet of 11 vessels; seven of them are security boats and four of them are tugs. The tugs require more specialised services, the kinds of captains, chief engineers, even third and second engineers on-board the vessels.
We also run a cadetship scheme, because we have researched and found that if we did not train the younger ones, in a few years or decade there would be no more seafarers to be able to do the work.
So, we started the training, sponsoring the cadets at Maritime Academy, Oron, which is the only college certified by NIMASA that actually awards certificate of competency.
We send these children there and they go through the college through the OND/HND track, with the aim that as they come out we take them for seatime. We undertake all expenses and place them on salary.
So, when they are done, in some cases, 18 months or 24 months seatime, depending on if it is OND or HND, they return to MAN, Oron for their prep classes, which run for about six months after which they sit for the exams set by NIMASA.”
Mrs Obuoforibo also lamented the recurring situation in which students of the Academy fail to pass their mandatory examinations stating that tthere may be a mismatch in the syllabus for NIMASA qualifying exams and the actually teaching that goes on at the school.
“I can tell you that in the last three to four years the failure rate of these cadets has been over 70 per cent. After the last one, which was extremely bad, out of 11 cadets we only had two success stories. We had to immediately call for an intervention. We engaged the cadets and the school.
“From the cadets’ perspective, the lecturers are not qualified to teach them. The lecturers who prepare them for the exams are either too theoretical meanwhile the NIMASA exam is based on practical, or a situation where a Physics teacher is teaching maritime. It cannot work that way.
“The cadets also said that they saw an entirely different thing in the exams, from what they were taught. So, there is a huge mismatch between NIMASA and the school.
“ It means that NIMASA has its own examination syllabus different from what the school syllabus has. But, since NIMASA funds the school by law, giving the school five per cent of its revenue, it means NIMASA should have a supervisory role to achieve the desired purpose.
“Right now, when we engaged the school, truth is that they lack qualified lecturers. They had reached out to the Association of Master Mariners, but can they afford such people to come and sit with them for like six months? A number of them have gone into private practice and it becomes difficult to get them there”, she added.
She called on government to demonstrate the political will to grow the school and improve its standards such that it becomes competitive in the region.
“ I see that the biggest problem is the lack of Political Will, because the government now has detailed information and can no longer stand behind ignorance.
“ All the issues have been identified and solutions proffered. If you can’t even take all, pick a few and move on gradually. But if no step is taken, there can’t be the desired change. It will all just be ‘Talk Shop.’
Posted on : April 15, 2019