14 September 2013, Lagos – President of the Nigerian Association of Master Mariners, Capt. Adejimi Adu has advised the Federal Government to give periodic tax relief to shipping lines in exchange for training of seafarers.
He told reporters that such policy could guarantee quality training for Nigerian seafarers to the benefit of the Nigerian maritime industry.
“Since Nigeria no longer has a shipping line, the government can extend a periodic tax relief incentive to shippers and ask them to create berths to accommodate cadets for training,” he said.
Adu said the call for such policy became necessary because the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron, Akwa Ibom, lacked facilities and manpower to train professional seafarers needed in the industry.
“In its 35 years of existence now, the Nigerian Maritime Academy, Oron, has not been able to award certificates beyond the lowest certificate of the officer cadre.
“Every year, the school admits students and churns out graduates, but they don’t have training facilities. Some of the students sent out to do IT have never seen a vessel.
“This makes the industry in Nigeria to continue to engage foreigners, because people like these cannot be saddled with the responsibility of managing a vessel,” the president disclosed.
Adu said the master mariners were contributing their quota by going to the academy in Oron to lecture the students.
He, however, said that more needed to be done to take advantage of the huge employment potential in the industry.
“We have the home and international ports and there are oil and gas operations within the home ports, with most companies involved in deep-water exploration.
“Being a marine environment with platforms, rigs, there is the need for vessels and officers to man those vessels. If Nigerian seafarers are well trained, that will reduce unemployment”.
He said that ahead of the association’s election, billed for Sept. 21, the master mariners wanted industry experts to look into the Cabotage law which stipulates that ships be built locally.
He also wants government to consider having master mariners on the boards of maritime agencies of government to offer professional advice to guide deliberations and policies.