The Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN) has pledged to partner the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), in Oron, Akwa Ibom State in the area of sea time training for cadets.
The ship owners stated this while addressing the management of the academy after a facility tour of the institution.
SOAN President, Dr. MkGeorge Onyung, emphasised that the decision by the organisation to visit and also support the Academy in critical areas of needs was motivated by the commitment of the present management and the rapid transformation the Academy witnessed recently.
According to Onyung, “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.”
He said the newly completed structures and ongoing ones were signatures of the present management.
“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,” he stated.
He also promised that the level of collaboration and support for the Academy would be increased to sustain the tempo of the current transformation and futuristic plans for the Academy, especially in the area of seatime training. He pledged that modalities will quickly be developed to strike a strong partnership with other affiliate groups towards ensuring that qualified cadets from the Academy have seatime on vessels.
“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 seatime,” Onyung added.
In his remark, the Rector of the Academy, Commodore Duja Effedua (rtd.), explained that with this possibility of seatime training, 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.
Effedua, stated that exposure of cadets to seatime on a vessel has become necessary as part of the current strategic agenda of restructuring and repositioning of the Academy into a world class institution.
He noted that, like some other projects, the survival pool that has just been remodelled and completed had been abandoned for 19 years. He maintained that his dream is to have foreign Cadets and other maritime professionals in the Academy.
Effedua, who thanked the SOAN president for the visit and support in previous years however sought more of such support especially in the area of seatime for cadets and engagement in other areas.