In a bid to reduce the spate of marine incidents in the country, the Association of Marine Engineers and Surveyors (AMES) has called for restoration of training officers on ships and ship-owning companies.

The General Secretary of AMES, Engr. Joe Wasa made this appeal at the weekend while featuring as a guest on Maritime TV.

According to him, the role of training officers in shipping across the nation has been jettisoned over the years with emphasis only placed on safety personnel.

His words: “Speaking from the point of view of AMES, our position stems from the fact that in the past we had training officers. Every company had training officers to oversee training of every officer and every rating in the company. This ensured that the workers were competent and proficient to the point that working onboard a ship was like a second nature.

“However, in the last 10 or 20 years, we have come across shipping companies and never hear about training officers. The emphasis has always been on safety officers but the safety officer operates on a ship at sea.

The training officers covers both, as they bring both together to ensure the new crew gets onboard a ship without knowing what they are going there for. This is very important.”

Wasa, however, implored young seafarers to have competence and proficient skills as their motivation in the profession and not money. He assured that such disposition will see the seafarers become assets to any company, thereby enhancing the remuneration they desire.

Noting that the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) had developed essential regulations, such as; Marine Pollution (MARPOL), Safety of Lives at Seas (SOLAS) and Standards for Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW), he encouraged the flag administration, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) prioritise these regulations in the country.

Since ship owners and their crew play an important role in compliance to the regulations, he stressed that they have to be enlightened on crucial IMO regulations and trained to ensure compliance.

He also lamented that the role of Government Inspector of Shipping (GIS), one of the agencies merged to create NIMASA, has been downplayed over the years at the expense of Nigeria’s shipping sector.

“GIS was able to instill some degree of fear resulting to compliance by ship owners. I don’t know how NIMASA is managing that today. I would suggest that they revive that office or do something innovative to replace that function and give it a good leadership,” he said.

According to him, the COVID-19 pandemic had prevented the association from visiting the new Executive leadership at NIMASA, however, he assured that AMES would deepen its partnership with the agency to provide answers to a myraid of maritime industry challenges.

AMES has been one of the top associations to consult in the nation’s shipping sector, with the group’s 2016 summit attended by the present Minister of Transportation, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, leading to the restructuring of NIMASA, Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN) Oron and the nation’s ship registry.

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