By Godfrey Bivbere
THE prospects of Nigerian trained cadets may have become jeopardized by the emergence of technology driven ocean-going vessels.
Informed industry sources indicate that several thousands of cadets may eventually be cut off from sea-time experience as their skills are no longer relevant in the modern vessels.
Maritime experts who disclosed this to Vanguard Maritime Report said the nation’s cadet training institute, Maritime Academy of Nigeria, MAN, Oron in Akwa Ibom, State, may have been caught unprepared by the development.
Project Coordinator of the Agge Deep Sea Port, located in Bayelsa State, Capt. Warredi Enisuoh,explained that the training requirement for seafarers globally has evolved with the needs of the shipping industry, noting that the requirement for the industry presently is digitalisation of vessels which reduces the number of seafarers needed to man such ships.
Compared to the present training syllabus for cadets in the country, he said that the global requirement is becoming more technologically based as the world moves towards shipping without crew.
He explained that modern vessels which are referred to as “Favor” vessels, have high level of automation, reduced minimum manning requirement, comparatively low operating cost, high carrying capacity or payload and much more than conventional vessels that were the reference for Nigeria’s cadet training.
Enisouh, who was a former director at the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, said the case in Nigeria is even worse as cadets at completion of their training are left to their fate in terms of sea time training requirement.
Consequently, he said government should place emphasis on technological trends in the maritime domain in the training of its intending seafarers.
Similarly, Chairman of the Ship Owners Association of Nigeria, SOAN, Greg Ogbeifun, said the training syllabus for the nation’s cadets need to be reviewed.
Ogbeifun noted that there is need for both the leadership of MAN and that of NIMASA to develop a curriculum in line with the standard of the International Maritime Organisation, IMO, for training of cadets.
The SOAN boss explained that while serving as a member of the then Interim Management Committee, IMC, of MAN he developed a syllabus for the training needs of cadets at the institution.
He lamented that the country do not have ocean-going vessels to meet the requirements for modern cadet training, though he said that there are modern vessels trading in the Cabotage area in the country but that the NIMASA is refusing to allow the cadets train onboard these ships.
Former Minister of Interior, Emmanuel Ihenacho, also called for aligning of MAN’s training programme with IMO’s prescribed STWC ‘95, noting that is the only way for Nigerian cadets to be recognised.
The STWC Basic Safety Training course is the legal minimum requirement for anyone looking for sea-time experience aboard vessels over 24 metres length, including Superyachts and Cruise ships.