Certificate of Competency: Alalade calls for upgrade of maritime institutions


Former President of the Nigerian Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Senior Staff Association, Engr. Matthew Alalade has called on the Minister of Transportation, Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi to take steps towards ensuring that the maritime institutions in the country are upgraded in order to curb the incidences of rejection of Certificate of Competency (CoC) issued by Nigeria.

Alalade who made this call in an interview with Primetime Reporters in Lagos on Thursday stated that the upgrade should not be limited to government owned maritime institution but should be extended to cover even the private institutions accredited by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) that are offering STCW and other related courses.

He also said that the Minister of Transportation should encourage them as maritime institutions are capital intensive unlike other regular universities.

According to him, “If you want our certificates to be robust like their counterparts all over the world, the IMO will have to come and inspect our institutions, they have a curriculum. If they can certify those curriculums, then they can issue out certificates that are commensurate with their counterparts elsewhere.

“Another dangerous trend is that they are putting Near Coastal Voyage (NCV), although every contract has its own Near Coastal Voyages but they should go above that level. Either they make it an open certificate that Near Coastal Voyage, it has equivalent to International voyage too. So, they should look into that. But the important thing is that the IMO will come and appraise our institutions. When they appraise it, you can start issuing those certificates.

“But the onus lies on the Minister of Transportation; that is when you will have commensurate certificates with other counterparts. NIMASA can try but who is sponsoring people to the White list? Is it not Minister of Transportation? NIMASA will try its best but the Minister of Transportation should be serious about this issue of certificate of competence.”

Asked if he was not insinuating that the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has not been inspecting the maritime institutions in Nigeria before now by calling for them to do so now, he replied, “they have been coming to our institutions but in a situation where you have about 2,000 entrants, is it commensurate with the industry needs? It is far above.

“Look at Oron now; they are not up to 500 students now which is what it should be. Why training more people than what the industry may require? A lot of people in the classroom in the past but now they have a commensurate number in a classroom, so, they can have focus now unlike before when they were too much in a classroom. And for us to be in the White List, those are the conditions too. I don’t know when we will be in the White List, we failed it last time during the last dispensation at NIMASA but this time around, we are going to make it to the White List.”

On why he sounded so sure that Nigeria would make the IMO White List this time around, he said, “If we are serious, we are going to clinch it and I believe this time around, Oron is doing well now, they no longer admit 2,000 to 3,000 students anymore although they have other courses that they are offering like administration, shipping development but in terms of seafaring, we have adequate number per class now. The man at the helms of affairs at Oron is trying to revamp the institution in order to bring it back to its former glory. So, we are very sure of clinching it this time around.

“They are doing some reconstructions on the port access roads. It is one of the conditions too so that people can clear their goods in record time. They (IMO) have their checklist; other aspects are there too including maritime labour which NIMASA is responsible for and safety issues. In fact, it encompasses many things. So, I hope the Ministry of Transportation will be on its toes as NIMASA is on its toes and other agencies in the maritime industry. If they key into it, definitely we are going to clinch it by the next classification of White List with the way the current NIMASA DG is going now and the new wave of collaboration among the heads of maritime agencies.”

Photo: Former President of Nigerian Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Senior Staff Association, Engr. Matthew Alalade.

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