The Nigerian Association of Master Mariners (NAMM) in Lagos on Monday called on the Federal Government to leverage maritime education and institution to international standards.
Capt. Adejimi Adu, NAMM President, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the nation needed a well equipped maritime institution to produce the needed master mariners in the country.
``As of today, we have less than 200 master mariners in the country and 90 per cent of them are above the age of fifty.
``In the whole world, there are about 1.5 million seafarers; about 20 per cent of this number comes from the Philippines.
``It would be difficult to quantify the magnitude of the loss from this dearth to the nation,” Adu said.
He also urged government to show commitment in developing diverse maritime experts, stressing that dependence on foreign operators had robbed the nation of huge foreign exchange.
According to him, the dependant on foreign operators in marine business that handles crude oil transactions, Nigerian main economic backbone, amounts to a conscious sabotage of the nation’s economy.
He also urged the government to dialogue with foreign ship owners toward creation of new berths for the cadets that would be produced from the local maritime institutions.
Adu said that the unemployment scourge in the country could be lifted if the government pays attention to manpower development, noting it remained a window to employment generation in Nigeria.
He regretted the liquidation of the Nigerian National Shipping Line (NNSL) had made it very difficult to train cadets.
He said that one of the vital ingredients for training of officers remained the availability of berths on board ships for practical experience.
Adu noted that only the Nigeria Natural Liquefied Gas (NNLG) company had made provision for cadets training in recent years.
Adu said also stressed the need for private-public partnership toward recreating the defunct NNSL and engendering growth in the nation’s maritime sub-sector. (NAN)