Nigerians Urged to Develop Competencies for Maritime Profession

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Eromosele Abiodun

Maritime experts and practitioners have urged Nigerians especially the youths to develop relevant competence and character capable of making them to excel in their maritime careers.

This unanimous call was made by dignitaries who made presentations at the 2017, Maritime Students Conference, held in Lagos.

Speaking at the occasion, the Rector of Lagos Aviation and Maritime Business Academy, Dr. Emeka Udowu revealed that many captains and master mariners complain bitterly about lack of professional competence being exhibited by most Nigerian youths who work as cadets onboard vessels.

Also, the Principal Partner, Akabogu and Associates, Emeka Akabogu told the students that there was no need for one to seek employment, unless the employee can truly add value to the employer’s system.

He maintained that many maritime companies are ready to employ only competent persons who can add value to their businesses.

“A lot of maritime students have come to me, asking for employment. As a maritime law firm, personally, I always have a need to employ. But most times you discover that some of these students can’t add value to the system you have in place.

“I want to use this opportunity to tell maritime students that it is not all about graduating and seeking for employment. You need to be able to add value to the company you want to work for. If you know you don’t have the necessary skills that will make you add value to a company, don’t bother seeking for employment. Get the value – adding skills first, equip yourself with those skills before you go seeking for employment”, Akabogu stated.

Acting Chairman, Society of Nigerian Mariners, Olu Akinsoji stated that the institutional problems in the country have affected the youths and their profession.

He called on the government to address the institutional problems so the youth would have a change of attitude in their chosen professions.

In his address, the Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Ms Hadiza Bala Usman said that owing to the growing demand for domestic gas in Nigeria, maritime institutions need to incorporate bunkering practice into their curriculum and intensify training on handling of dangerous and hazardous cargoes.

The NPA boss, who was represented by the General Manager, Monitoring and Compliance, NPA, Iheanacho Ebubeogu, noted that since the economy is diversifying into areas of refining its products, it is pertinent for maritime institutions to respond and groom the younger generation in the handling of the hazardous cargoes.

“The maritime environment in Nigeria today is a book to read. We are diversifying our economy, diversifying towards three areas – solid minerals, agriculture and trying to refine our products, which is what Dangote is doing now. The demand for domestic gas is increasing now; the schools have to respond to the handling of those types of cargoes because they are all going to be trans-shipped by ships and are all going to be handled in the ports.

“Therefore, port designs, construction, training of manpower that work in this industry and everything surrounding it must speak to all these new prospects that are coming up”, Ebubeogu stated.

On the employment benefits from the new frontiers, Ebubeogu said: “It is a core sectional activity in the maritime industry and it can create an unbelievable employment for the country. I want to implore maritime institutions in the country to now embark on curriculum that has to do with bunkering practice, because gas is a higher duty code due to its explosiveness and dangerous nature. I want to also urge institutions to intensify their trainings on dangerous cargoes like gas because in the next 10 years majority of homes will go on liquefied and natural gas.”