Master mariners in the country have opposed calls for the scrapping of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), Oron, Akwa Ibom State.
The master mariners, under the aegis of the Nigerian Association of Master Mariners (NAMM), said despite the fact that the academy, which remains the only International Maritime Organisation (IMO)-recognised maritime training institution in Nigeria has not lived up to the expectations of stakeholders, calls for its scrapping would amount to throwing away the baby with the bath water.
The position of NAMM came on the heels of an earlier demand by a member of the association, Captain Abiodun Omoteso, calling for the scrapping of MAN, Oron for what he called its failure to achieve the purpose for which it was established by the Federal Government over three decades ago.
At a media briefing at its secretariat in Lagos, the Vice President of NAMM, Captain Emmanuel Omotayo, said it was not necessary to call for the scrapping of the academy, since its members have what it takes to make it deliver on its mandate as Nigeria's premier maritime training institution.
Omotayo called for the support of all stakeholders in NAMM's quest to build a permanent secretariat for the association.
He revealed that some prominent Nigerians including former Lagos State Governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu; former Minister of Defence, General Theophilus Danjuma (rtd); President of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote; Chairman of Daar Communications Plc, Chief Raymond Dokpesi; and the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III expected to grace the N100 million fund raising ceremony of the permanent secretariat of NAMM in Lagos.
Omotayo, who disclosed that the fund raising event would take place on December 8 in Victoria Island, Lagos, would be chaired by Danjuma while Dokpesi would serve as the guest speaker. According to him, while Tinubu would be the special guest of honour at the occasion expected to attract dignitaries from all walks of life, Oba Adeyemi would be the royal father of the day.
"The Nigerian Association of Master Mariners (NAMM) was set up to promote professional ethics and efficiency in nautical/maritime practice; encourage, promote and coordinate research in the advancement of nautical/maritime practice in Nigeria and advise Federal, State and Government institutions on matters related to the nautical/maritime profession in Nigeria and elsewhere. The permanent secretariat project which we are pursuing at the moment is to aid the attainment of these objectives and we seek the support of all Nigerians to make it succeed", he said.
Omotayo also lamented the state of manpower development in the shipping sector, adding that much work needs to be done to address the gap in the rank of professionals in the industry.
He disclosed that NAMM was founded in 1985 with a greater part of its members being professionals in the maritime industry who started their careers in the Merchant Navy while some members are still actively sailing the seas as qualified holders of Master Mariner Class1 (Foreign-going) Certificates of Competency.
He said NAMM members are actively engaged in port operations, LPG/LNG terminals, offshore operations and pilotage in the oil and gas industries, vessel dockyards and quality control aspects of superintendence, classification survey services including vessel purchasing evaluation and trainings.