Following last week’s stakeholders’ commitment to contribute to the nation’s seafarers’ capacity building and also raise the level of women participation in shipping and core industry operations, the leadership of the Ship Owners Association of Nigeria, SOAN, has paid a working visit to the Maritime Academy of Nigeria on a facility tour, following which a memorandum of understanding, MoU, was signed for the engagement of cadets of the Academy for their mandatory sea time training, onboard SOAN ships.
This development is coming on the heels of very sincere and robust engagements by the leadership of MAN and SOAN, and signposts the first ever major partnership deal to resolve the issues of knotty sea time training, which with a huge backlog of stranded cadets and national embarrassment the situation has exposed Nigeria.
On ground to sign and seal the deal last Friday at the Academy, was the President of SOAN, Dr. McGeorge Onyung and Rector of MAN, Commodore Duja Effedua.
An elated Effedua while speaking on the importance of the MoU said the benefiting Cadets will become exposed to real and practical life on sea, an experience which they never had but which is primarily designed to boost their competency and make them marketable across the world in line with international best practices.
Lamenting the catalogue of ills he inherited upon resumption, part of which were poor quality output, cadets, lack of qualified teaching staff in professional areas and the scandalous lack of sea time training, the MoU he noted constitute a strategic fulfillment of his restructuring and repositioning agenda of the Academy into a world class institution.
According to him, “To truly merit the name of seafarers as well as meet their professional expectations, Cadets must be given proper training in line with international standards. This involves undergoing the compulsory sea time training. And because the present Management of the Academy is after excellence and professionalism of Cadets, we went into action to make sure everything possible was done to actualize dreams and ensure that our products can stand any test in any part of the world. That is why we are very grateful to the Ship Owners Association of Nigeria for its consistent support and the current assurances by the new leadership. Let me mention that the Academy has moved from where it was previously and is gaining respect and recognition.
The Rector assured his the ship owners that practical steps are already in place for the rapid infrastructural development of the Academy and employment of core professionals to handle major courses and induce change of mental orientation for cadets. He said having overcome the development backlog of 19 years prior his appointment, his next level transformation is attract foreign Cadets and other maritime professionals to the Academy.
Earlier in his speech, the SOAN President said their decision to visit and also support the Academy in critical areas of needs was motivated by the commitment of the Academy’s present management , noting that SOAN is encouraged by the rapid transformation that the Academy has witnessed in recent time.
His words, “We have heard so much about your unflinching commitment towards the repositioning and restructuring of the Academy. This is my first time in this place since the establishment of this institution more than 40 years ago; but as I arrived here, I was first captured by the ambience of the Academy’s environment that tells the story from the gate.
“Let me first commend the Rector and his management team for their vision, commitment and taste for quality. What I have seen is a sharp contrast to the previous stories of poor management, obsolete or complete lack of quality infrastructure, dearth of modern training equipment, half-baked Cadets and inadequate professionals to handle core maritime courses. I can now say that the Academy has a future. It is on course. I am quite satisfied. This is what gives us the courage and incentive to encourage this institution the more. It all points to the fact that with the right person in the right place, things can work in this country.”
“When I hear you, Rector, speak, I feel like shedding tears for the passion you personally have for the development of the Academy. I feel proud that the Federal Government finally has found a man like you, a seasoned and renowned naval officer, a purpose-driven and core professional in the maritime sector, to man this great institution whose dreams have been stunted over the years. The Cadets are our collective succession plan. There is no moral justification for us not to have them properly trained on board and other areas. Giving them adequate training and exposure will also boost the maritime industry and create more opportunities for exports. We must have competent hands to handle our ships and equipment. This Academy therefore cannot be toyed with. We all must be seen as stakeholders and shareholders. It is therefore our determination to support you, and we sure will, particularly in connection with vessels for sea time”, he said.
Dr. Onyung was accompanied on the visit by the Chairman, Technical Committee of SOAN, Dr. Lucky Akhiwu.