Master Mariners decry negligence by Transport Ministry, maritime agencies


…Say foreign counterparts not better than them

The Nigerian Association of Master Mariners (NAMM) has decried the failure of the Nigerian government to engage the services of her members in filling the knowledge gap in the shipping industry in Nigeria which in turn has led to dearth of qualified manpower to drive the industry.

The President of NAMM, Capt. Tajudeen Alao who stated this in Lagos at the weekend posited that while the association had everything it takes to train and provide consultancy services to the Nigerian government, it would not consult them but would prefer to deal with foreigners who he said were less qualified than their Nigerian counterparts.

Alao stated that most of their members went through some professional training training which were no longer available for today’s cadets in Nigeria adding that given the opportunity, they could transfer such knowledge to the Nigerian cadets to qualify them for any job at sea.

He said,” We went through these, we had international exposure, so, it baffles me when some people in Nigeria say Nigerians cannot advise them on training of cadets and they go out to go and take Indian Consultants who are not even qualified. We have inland waterways qualification, we have coastal and we have foreign going. Some of these people that parade themselves in Nigeria, they were not trained to our level but these are the people that our government patronizes and they mislead them because they are here to make money.

“To me, we should equip MAN Oron instead of sending people all over the world. Today, we should train people like us who will now train the people, we should train people like us as examiners who will now examine these people. If facilities are there, the empowerments are not there, after so many years, we are still saying the same thing. Today, Nigeria tells you that Nigerians cannot train, it is misnomer. We want you people to go out there and tell them that the Master Mariners, they say they can train, they are empowered, they are equipped to train other cadets, to train officers and to examine them because we went through that tutelage.

“Here we give mentorship to new cadets, when they come we advise them, give them career counseling and others because when you are  trained as Master Mariner, you are versatile, you can be a lecturer, you can be a surveyor in maritime administration, you can be board Captain with shipping companies, cargo handling. Capt. Osah here was in Flour Mills, he started Golden Shipping in Flour Mills, he was the pioneer up to the MD. Captain Olugbode was a Pilot, Harbour Master, GM Marine in NPA. So, Master Mariners are versatile in all areas of shipping”.

The NAMM boss revealed that a look at the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) would reveal that there was no single Master Mariner in its employ saying that all that interests NIWA today was going after issuing operational permits even as he noted that the work of NIWA was more than just issuing operational permits to include safe navigation.

In his words,” The other day, I learnt that NIWA boat went on a wreck; we call this Floater Majeser on water. Who was driving the boat that they entered? How qualified is that person? So, you must save lives. The other day at Liverpool, three or four days ago, in the night, a boat capsized; accident everywhere but we are here to give guidance.

“The chart across there is about all the inland waters in Nigeria, a high powered committee of which Capt. Olugbode was part of produced navigable waters; Baro, Numan to Lokoja, those are the charts there. We have everything but they don’t consult us, they don’t deal with us. As far as this water is concerned, so, the government should make use the Master Mariners and we shall offer our services gratis, even to lecture at Oron, we have written to them, we have offered our members, they block them yet. That is why we are insisting on the interim management report for MAN Oron.

“We have written to the Minister, we congratulated him and we told him what the outcome of this thing must be but there was no acknowledgement to our letter, there was no reply. We can show you copy of the letter. We have written to MAN Oron, up till today, the DG NIMASA has refused to see us to give us audience, three years down the line, yet all over the world, they recognize us”.

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