The Nigeria maritime industry may soon be affected by a dearth of seafarers as youths are abandoning the profession.
Vanguard Maritime Report gathered that fresh enrolments into the Maritime Academy, MAN, Oron, the nation’s premium maritime institution has gone down just as is the case with other marine training organisations, as youths no longer seem to be interested in seeking a career in the seafaring profession.
It was further gathered that the low interest followed the redundancy currently pervading the various batches of trained cadets over the years.
Enrolment in MAN before last year according to the rector, Commander Emmanuel Effedua, was about 1,800, but he noted that the number has since gone down to less than 400 this year.
However, Vanguard Maritime Report also learnt that most of the aspiring professionals in the industry are finding it difficult to fund a full-scale training and career development programme that lasts for about 10 years.
Speaking on the issue, Managing Director of Arion Energy Services Limited and President of Alumni of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron, AMANO, Austin Umezurike, said that the situation was becoming worrisome.
Umezurike noted that apart from the challenges stated above, the technological development in the training of cadets and the jobless condition of those presently aspiring to become seafarers are responsible for the youth apathy.
He said: “Today, a lot of young people are not interested in going to seek careers in seafaring because there are other challenging and technological career options available.
“In the age of digital technology, there are so many career paths that have sprung up that are more attractive to young people than seafaring. Seafaring is very expensive; to train someone to become a seafarer is expensive.
“Take, for example, the current programme at the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, MAN, Oron in Akwa Ibom State where you have to spend five years (two years for National Diploma, ND, one year for Industrial Attachment, IT, and another two years for Higher National Diploma, HND). You finish that, five years have gone, then you go and find money to do your onboard training.
“For the engineers, in some category of career paths, it is 18 months, some are 24 months. So you finish either of the two, you have to do your National Youth Service Corps, NYSC.
“When you finish your mandatory sea time, you have to go back for a six months preparatory course and then your certificate of competency before you can get your license.
“So you see, that is a very long period and the cost involved is a lot compared to somebody who goes to the university for business management, does it in four or five years, and then proceeds to the job market. It takes time and IS expensive.
“The other aspect of it is how equipped are the schools that we have. It is only recently that the new management at the maritime academy has started to upgrade the school in terms of providing facilities for training and upgrading the lecture theatre and the buildings and modernizing them,” he noted.Read Full Story