The Nigerian Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Senior Staff Association has called on the federal Government to upgrade the Certificate of Competency (CoC) issued to seafares.
The National President of the association, Engr. Matthew Alalade said the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) should adjust its standard in line with international best practices.
Engr. Alalade said that the certificates issued here in Nigeria were not upgraded even when most institutions in Ghana which started the same time with Nigeria were now ahead of the country in terms of the quality of certificates they issue.
Alalade made this disclosure in a statement made available to The Tide on Tuesday.
He said, ”They (Nigerian certificate) should be upgraded because we started at the same time with the major academies in Ghana but now they are far ahead of us.”
He explained that whenever they finish training cadets, they should come to the government through the Ministry of Transport to get their certificates authenticated by the Ministry of Transport.
He said,”We are not there yet because our institutions are not issuing what they are supposed to be issuing, the standard for us to go forward. For example, we are still issuing near coastal voyage. Why don’t we issue foreign going certificate above 3,000 gross tonnages? You must have to upgrade your schools, the ILO will come to inspect it so that you can be on the white list.
but if you don’t upgrade it, what will they come and inspect?”
Engr. Alalade observed that for Nigeria to be a maritime nation in West Africa, aside from seafaring, the roads needed to be easily accessible
According to him, “If you have emergency from the port now, the fire brigade cannot come from outside to come and assist because the roads are not accessible. So, those are the things that ILO considers for you to be in the white list”.
“So, the government must see that they upgrade our schools to start with and improve operation in our ports or rather diversify the ports to other locations. We have some major ports here in Nigeria not only Lagos ports so that we can be on IMO white list. And there should be security there too because nobody will come to invest where he is not secured. Foreign exchange too must be stable for investors to come and invest because if it is not stable, nobody will come and invest here in Nigeria.
On ship building and repairs, Alalade said Nigerians were not yet there to comptete with other notable nations because of the foreign exchange rate in the country
“Ship building, ship repair, we are not there yet. Because of the foreign exchange rate in Nigeria, nobody will bring his hard earned foreign currencies to be devalued by the exchange rate that is not stable. So, it is difficult for them. Even Nigerian ship owners prefer to take vessels that they manage to other countries to dry dock and to do other things while we have our Niger Dock, leading to capital flight.”