Concerted efforts aimed at getting cadets of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN) Oron the mandatory sea time training have begun to yield positive results, Rector of the Academy, Commodore Emmanuel Effedua says in this interview with TNMN. He speaks of the Academy’s pact with the Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), adding that students of the Academy are now placed on indigenous vessels for practical training. He also speaks of how the proposed acquisition of simulators for the Academy will give cadets added advantage in terms of practical training.
Sir, please tell us about the recent pact the Academy has with the Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN) for practical training on board indigenous vessels, what is it all about?
The issue is that cadets of the Academy, ab initio, all they do is go to offices for the compulsory series, the IT (Industrial Training) equivalent of MBTD. They do it in offices and at the end of the day, they just fulfill all righteousness but no value added. For those who are from the School of Maritime Transport and Business Studies, there is no problem with that, they are not really seafarers per say but they manage those at sea so it is okay for them but for those who are engineers on board ships and for those who navigate the ships, doing IT in offices is not the best so, since the history of the Academy they never had the Academy facilitating it. We had it in our minds and we did everything possible to ensure it worked.
We spoke to the SOAN president, Dr MkGeorge Onyung about it immediately he came on board and he was delighted and at end of the day he assured us that he will give us all his support. You know something you start will have initial hiccups. Some people are rejecting some cadets because of their gender, you don’t blame them. Some have accepted some females and some have said they do not have facilities to keep them on board. So what we are doing now is that we are exchanging them. If Ship A rejects a female and Ship B will accept, any male on Ship A, we remove to ensure that they all get equal experience. So far, it has worked. The Academy is paying for it, we have paid the ship owners directly. We have paid the admin charges, it is not for free but we are so grateful to the present president for the zeal with which he handled that matter and helped us to adjust where there were operational gaps.
How many Cadets have been placed on board SOAN vessels?
59 ND 1 cadets
Will this count as the mandatory sea time training?
It will count. It will count because they have ships log. The hours at sea will be recorded. Four months will be recorded so far. Also, the power rating of the vessel, maybe it is a 100KW because that is the minimum now. It used to be 500KW, they lowered to 300. Now, it is 100 for the first nations at sea -Australia, US, Canada and other countries have started adopting 100. So, if means that if you have been trained on a vessel that is rated 100KW, you have to work on a ship rated 100KW but there is a plan B to that.
How will the acquisition of simulators help this initiative?
We have just concluded plans to get our simulators. The letter of award have been issued to the Indian partner. When this comes,with our softwares in the multi-functional classroom, we are the first to have it in Africa. In 15 weeks, they will be delivered God willing. We have warehoused the money, we are not looking for loans from anybody and nobody has assisted us to do that; we saved. When that comes into play, one of the softwares will be to upgrade on high voltage training. So, those with 100KW, they can still do training on board the simulator to simulate most of those things they need to do and get qualified for higher vessels.