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MAN takes delivery of 5th simulator

As Buhari commends Amaechi, Jamoh, others over DBP


The underwater helicopter been offloaded at the Academy

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Barely 72 hours after the launch of Nigeria’s Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure project, otherwise known as ‘The Deep Blue Project’ (DBP) by President Muhammadu Buhari, the Federal Ministry of Transportation scored yet another critical goal, with the arrival of Helicopter Underwater Escape Training Equipment (HUETE), designed to train helicopter crew, skills needed to stay safe and escape from a helicopter that has landed in water.

While the DBP is the brainchild of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN) is the driver of HUETE, as both agencies of the transportation ministry have continued to run shoulder to shoulder, laying strong operational blueprint for the transportation sector and maritime economy.

Rector of MAN, Commodore Duja Effedua (Rtd.) who confirmed the arrival of HUETE said the delivery of the new equipment brings to five, the total number of simulators acquired by the Academy to provide training for its cadets.

Effedua explained that like other simulators before this current one, apart from his cadets, the equipment will be positioned to service the maritime, oil and gas industry middle level manpower, in general and specific skills.

Checks indicate that as frightening as the idea of a helicopter crashing into water might be, the skills needed to keep affected persons safe in such a situation can be learnt in the space of just a day, even as Effedua explained that it does not require complex qualification for sponsored candidates tom get enrolled.

This is even as experts posit that Helicopter Underwater Escape Training is important for anyone who flies a helicopter, including members of the armed forces aircrew, emergency service departments such as the fire brigade and for people who work offshore.

It is important to note that this government has walked its talk over its pledge to seriously address areas of operational deficits in other to close unwholesome gaps in the maritime domain, pursuant to achieving efficient and optimal service delivery, security and safety, which alone can promote performance and impact overall growth.

The Academy had in the past one year taking delivery of other simulators, including the Multifunctional, Full Bridge and Engine Room Simulators category. The addition of HUETE can be said to be the crowning glory in seamanship training, which simulates real sea experience.

The capacity assemblage of multipurpose simulation training at MAN already position Nigeria as sub regional and continental training hub, providing a bridge for workers in the maritime, oil and gas sectors.

Recall that the Hon. Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi last year commissioned a number of projects at the Academy, including simulators. MAN Rector, while showing the Minister and his entourage around, said the Multi-Functional Classroom Simulator is a combination of eight additional Simulators which have their soft ware’s installed for specific purposes.

Fielding questions from journalists after the commissioning, Effedua explained some of the equipment’s technicalities.

“For instance, if the instructor wants to teach on Rules of the Road or Global Maritime Distress and Safety System, GMDSS , etc all he needs to do is change the settings and he is good to go.  Everything you saw at the Full Bridge Simulator room can be achieved from the multifunctional classroom. This is the latest technology in the world and it is not easily accessed in the market.”

While explaining that the old generic simulators can only performed very limited functions, Effedua said the Academy’s array of modern technology simulators has market for prospective trainees from other countries in the sub region and Africa as a whole.

“When we say multifunctional that is exactly what it is. The possibilities are endless. Before now, maritime, oil and gas workers travel abroad for training, trust me when l say that we have the equipment, and we have the instructors, but if anyone decides to go abroad it is a matter of choice”.

“Outside of this country this kind of training goes for $2, 000 or more, but here we will give the same training, same certification using same simulators for far less”, stressing that the present government is providing the foundation, assets and infrastructure to jumpstart critical training and skills’ acquisitions, without the need to go abroad.

He continues:, “The Federal government wants to build capacity for Nigerians. It is not about profit-making, so we are going to crash the cost of training to enable as many Nigerians as possible, take advantage of these modern simulators to develop the maritime, oil and gas industries for the good of the country.

“Going abroad for any kind of training with the launch of these simulators is a waste of time and resources, quote me anywhere. Why pay for flight, accommodation and pay training fees when you can get same training, using the same kind of equipment (if not better) right here at the Maritime Academy of Nigeria?”

The Academy Ocular Simulator delivered earlier the year

The highpoint of the commissioning was when Effedua showed Amaechi around and was treated to a practical demonstration by Capt. Ramdoss Rajarathinam, one of the Academy instructors, using the Full Mission Bridge Simulator.

The elated minister turned to his ministry officials and maritime stakeholders on his entourage asked, “Why weren’t these achieved before now at the Academy?”

HUETE training takes place in a purpose-built indoor pool called a dunker. The dunker is a helicopter simulator that can be submerged in the water. It can rotate 180 degrees, that is escape from a capsized helicopter, or escape training from an upside down position inside water.

Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has specially commended the Honourable Minister of Transportation (HMOT), Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi and his Ministry of Defence (MOD) counterpart, Gen. Magashi, for diligently overseeing the Deep Blue Project (DBP) initiative, from conception to finishing.

Buhari also commended the Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Zubairu Gambo, Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Members of the Steering Committee and the Project Management Team and all others, for their commitment to the project.

“I commend the Honourable Minister of Transportation, Honourable Minister of Defence, the Chief of Naval Staff, the Director General NIMASA, Members of the Steering Committee and the Project Management Team and all other government stakeholders who have worked together to bring this initiative of the administration to fruition”, he said.

“As we begin the operationalization phase of the project, I wish to assure you of government’s commitment to ensure its sustainability and invite all critical stakeholders to work collectively in this direction for the greater benefit of all Nigerians, member states of the Gulf of Guinea and the global maritime community.”

DBP combat boats during the launch, recently

In addition, the president expressed happiness that NIMASA has recorded successful prosecution of suspects under the Suppression of Piracy and other Maritime Offences Act which he signed into law in June 2019; and edged the federal government commitment t ensuring the sustenance of DBP initiative.

“In this regard, I have been informed that since the coming into force of the law, ten convictions have been secured for various offences under the Act. This Flag-off is an important step in the continuing shift in strategic action about regional maritime security.

“It will serve as a benchmark for member states in the Gulf of Guinea and other relevant stakeholders to further develop innovative strategies and align efforts with the subsisting framework to improve maritime security in the region.”

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