MAN Oron Simulators: Bridging the Gap in Critical Offshore Training
By Eguono Odjegba
Last week the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, MAN, took delivery of its Helicopter Underwater Escape Training Equipment, HUETE, designed to train helicopter crew, skills needed to stay safe and aid escape from a helicopter that has landed in water.
According to the management of MAN, the said consignment is the last of six simulators required to build the Academy’s Simulation Training Centre, STC, which basically, provides sea experience training through simulation under various seafaring condition; in addition to fundamental offshore engineering and navigational skills.
It is instructive to note that while some of the equipments are designed to provide multipurpose functions, the present management of the Academy driving the process has planned the STC to be a bastion of integrated basic training for cadets.
In addition, the STC was designed to also serve various category of middle level industry manpower in the maritime, oil and gas sector, which effectively bridge the hitherto existing gap in simulation modulated offshore training.
The story behind the news however is the sheer level of commitment, focus and enthusiasm by the leadership of MAN and his management team to drive this process to a logical conclusion, from the moment of conception. Such overflow of determination to push government business, especially in the educational sector, where capacity is often treated with half measures, makes the news of the establishment of a STC in Nigeria tickles the ear like sound of music.
With its establishment, workers from the maritime, oil and gas sector, including armed forces crew personnel from the navy and air force, who hitherto obtain such training overseas, can now do so at home, minus the stress of traveling, and with less cost, while opening an additional avenue for creating foreign exchange, and at the same time reducing capital flight; both of which have impacted adversely on our gross domestic product, GDP.
The Effedua story represents one of uncommon passion, focus, critical thinking, decision making and implementation. Instructively these are the attributes of leadership; not just to prattle and engage in propaganda, but to talk and been seen to walk the talk.
At the point Effedua commenced the installation of the equipments, it started with the Multifunctional Classroom Simulator. He gave indication for the arrival and installation of the Full Mission Bridge and Engine Room Simulators, as the next step. True to his words, these other equipments arrived, and met the time frame for installation.
Effedua disclosed that the simulators aimed at enhancing training capabilities of the maritime training institution is expected to offer modern practical hands-on experience for cadets and students of the school, as primary beneficiary; with the larger maritime, oil and gas sectors in mind.
It will be further recalled that the Academy Rector also explained that simulation programme is intended enhance the value of Certificates of Competency issued to Nigerians, in order to raise their global acceptability.
Designed to accommodate up to 30 cadets and their instructors at every class, the multifunctional classroom simulator is designed to take as many as 20 different maritime related training programmes. It not officially bridged the training gap for which many Nigerians hitherto traveled to Ghana, Egypt, South Africa and overseas; because of its obvious capacity as a regional hub, the MAN STC is also positioned to create a versed migration strong enough to attract continental inflow.
Imbued with futuristic outlook, Effedua said in addition to procuring the training devices from its meagre resources, he has also invested in train-the-trainer manpower development for their operation and maintenance; in addition to hiring expatriates to give a boost and thus create a global ambience for the Academy.
While 16 staff members of the Academy had undergone and completed above training in India, 14 more are said to be on the waiting list to undertake the next trip. According to the Rector, “We made sure that the training component was included in the purchase order of the Simulators because we must learn from and improve on previous experiences”.
A mariner of note with rich practical experience, Effedua gave the minister of transportation and his entourage, which includes industry technocrats and players, a bird’s eye view of the brands, capability and outreach of the simulators.
“These simulators will enhance the training of our cadets on Global Maritime Distress and Safety System, GMDSS, Electronic Charts, Blind Pilotage, Tactical Navigation, Ship Stability, Rules of the Road and what is known as High Voltage training.
“The Multifunctional Classroom Stimulators can accommodate not less than 30 Cadets per training session. No country in the sub region has the kind of equipment we have brought to the Academy. They are multi-purpose designed and built. These are not off the shelf generic equipment and we are confident that their arrival and installation will rejuvenate and catapult our trainings beyond the expectations of our stakeholders.”
Speaking about the equipments potential outreach, Effedua said, “The entire maritime industry, the Oil and Gas sector have a lot to gain from these modern equipments. Refresher courses are now more than ever before available on a higher, improved scale and because we are concerned about the entire country, we shall be open to discussions with other schools which want to take advantage of our equipment to improve on their training for the good of the country”.
In view of the success story of building the Academy’s critical infrastructure base within three years record time, the House of Representatives Committee on Maritime Safety, Education and Administration, recently thumbed up Rector of the Academy, Commodore Duja Effedua, retired, for his professional, occupational and administrative competence.
Chairman of the Committee, Hon Linda Ikpeazu, speaking with reporters shortly after her committee tour of the Academy facilities in December 2020, commended its rapid infrastructural development within a short span of time, describing it as outcome of competence.
The lawmaker advised other institutions of government to take a cue from the regime of focused transformation in MAN, noting that ability to deliver on assignments should come first ahead of political and other considerations; as the only sure way to take our institutions out of its present sorry state.
“What we’ve seen today, what he has briefed us on what they are doing right now, that will get us to where we want as a committee. We were here about this time last year and coming this year the place is looking totally different.
“A lot of things have been done. A lot of work is still going on and I like to use this opportunity, and I speak on behalf of my committee that we are really commending the rector for what he has done. Let me say that it is very important that in any appointments that are given in the country, competence should actually trump politics.
“The Rector has been here three years and has done so much. He is competent, he has vision, he has passion for what he is doing and it shows in the output, because you can’t really hide it. That is why we are commending him and we are going to support him to make sure that he continues what he is doing.”