Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola has disclosed that plans are underway for sea time placement of Nigerian maritime cadets to bridge the country’s maritime manpower gap and enhance employability of graduates.
Speaking at the 2023 graduation ceremony of 157 cadets of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, in Oron on Thursday, the minister said a definite policy to address the challenge is being planned
Oyetola, who was represented by the ministry’s Director of Maritime Safety and Security, Babatunde Bombata, reiterated the President Bola Tinubu administration’s commitment to reposition the marine sector.
While congratulating the graduating cadets, the minister added that he is still receiving briefing from within and outside the ministry on finding solutions to the challenge of inadequate space for sea time.
“I am deeply honoured to stand before you today as we celebrate the remarkable achievement of the youthful men and women who are about to embark on a new chapter of their lives.
“Today is not just a day of graduation; it is a day of commencement, a day that symbolizes the dedication, hard work, and resilience that these cadets have exhibited throughout their rigorous training.
“To the graduating cadets, I extend my heartfelt congratulations. You have successfully navigated the challenges of the maritime academy, proving your mettle and commitment to this noble profession.
“As you stand on the threshold of a maritime career, remember that the sea is vast and unpredictable, much like the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead. Your training here has equipped you with the knowledge and skills needed to navigate these waters with precision and expertise.
“The maritime industry plays a pivotal role in the economic growth and development of our nation and it relies on individual like you to maintain the integrity and reputation of the industry.
“I also want to acknowledge the dedication of the staff of the Academy for their unwavering commitment to shaping the future leaders of our maritime sector. Your guidance has been instrumental in nurturing these cadets into skilled and responsible professionals.
“Let me also assure you that the commitment of this administration to the transformation of the maritime industry is genuine.
It is considered as one of the key drivers of the renewed hope agenda, therefore, prioritizing the maritime sector is a strategic move that can yield multifaceted benefits, impacting economic, social, and environmental aspects while contributing to the overall development and competitiveness of a nation and can provide Economic Growth; Job Creation; Trade Facilitation; Diversification of the Economy.
” I am still receiving briefing from both within and outside the Ministry on the issues of challenges of placing our cadets on sea-time and I assure you that a definite policy programme would be produced to resolve this. This would no doubt help in closing the gap for the manpower in the maritime sector.As you are aware, the present administration has created a new Ministry for Marine and Blue Economy with the aim of promoting sustainable harnessing of our ocean resources.
“Therefore, all hands must be on deck to reposition the Ministry in line with global best practices. In conclusion, I have full confidence that the graduating cadets will make significant contributions to the maritime industry, elevating its standards and fostering a culture of excellence. Your success will not only be a testament to your abilities but also a source of pride for our nation.
“Once again, congratulations to the Graduates, may your sails be filled with the winds of success, and may you navigate the seas of life with courage, integrity, and a steadfast commitment to excellence.”
Speaking earlier, the Rector of MAN Oron, Commodore Duja Effedua (Rtd), encouraged the new graduates to display high-level professionalism and humility in their careers.
Effedua stressed that the Academy was at par or superior to most maritime training institutions around the world in terms of the state-of-the-art facilities and technologies.
“Every course that is done abroad for pre-sea training is also done at the Academy and the facilities we have are first-class. We also offer simulator based courses which aren’t done in any other country in West Africa.
“MAN Oron is presently on the White List of the International Maritime Organization (IMO). Abuja MoU recognizes us..We have so many MAN Oron cadets all around the world. IMO donates books frequently because they recognize us,” the Rector said.
The Rector noted that the Academy is considering night-time programmes and other alternative programmes to cater for the massive influx of students, disclosing that the Academy is already oversubscribed for the 2024 academic year.
On his part, the President, National Association of Master Mariners, Capt. Tajudeen Alao, urged the Rector of the Academy to fine tune the Academy’s curriculum to meet current realities.
According to him, the Academy has prepared the Cadets for a great career and enormous opportunities in the Blue Economy.
He also urged them to be good ambassador of the country and shun vices even as the association donated N100,000 each to best graduating cadets in both National Diploma and Higher National Diploma.
“The Industry is further challenging you to quickly fine tune the Academy Curriculum because the world is transforming from Green Economy to Blue Economy. The challenges ahead are enormous. There would be tough times always. There would be frustration tendencies. There would be temptation to give up. But always remember that the Academy has moulded your character to stand up to these challenges.
“The Academy has prepared you for the vagaries of the Seas- rough weather and japa tendencies – abandon ship abroad to marry locals, and temptations on the job
, social vices of drug peddling, arms smuggling, human trafficking and cargo theft. More importantly, the Academy has prepared you for a great career and enormous opportunities in the Blue Economy.
“Remember that you are Ambassadors of MAN Oron and Nigeria, wherever your ships sail to world wide, please do not cause pollution of the Ocean in the course of discharging your duties onboard.
Always keep these golden points to your chest that success comes with hardwork – not luck, not shortcut; Patience..is a price to pay for a successful career, otherwise you loose out,” the NAMM National President stated