By Christiana Ekpa Abuja
The House of Representatives yesterday called for the provision of sea faring vessels/ocean liners for training of Cadets in Maritime Academy, Oron, in Akwa Ibom State.
This followed a motion by Rep. Bassey Ekpenyong (Akwa/Ibom-PDP), at plenary.
Moving the motion, Ekpenyong expressed concern over the lack of sea faring vessels/ocean liners for effective training of Cadets in the maritime Academy, Oron which was the pioneer maritime institution in Nigeria.
He explained that the Maritime Academy, Oron, was established in 1979 and had produced over 5,000 sea farers for the Nigeria maritime Industry.
Ekpenyong expressed worry that the industry was still finding it difficult to effectively equip the shipboard officers and ratings with the mandatory and advanced certifications.
These, according to him were needed in offshore global maritime operations and management due to non-accessibility to oceangoing vessels, in spite of its waterfront being close to the Atlantic Ocean.
He expressed worry at the lack of required facilities in the institution which had made it difficult for cadets to earn the required hours at sea which was a prerequisite for completion of the mandatory one-year sea term and advanced trainings.
“Worried that students seeking further training would have to attend the Regional Maritime University, Accra in Ghana or Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport in Alexandria, Egypt to enable them obtain the required Certificate of Competence (1-3) as standards in the global maritime industry for sea farers.”
He further expressed concern that the situation had resulted in brain drain and capital flight, thus negating the needed development in the Nigerian maritime sector.
The motion was unanimously adopted by members when it was put to a voice vote by the Speaker, Mr Yakubu Dogara.
The House therefore, mandated its Committees on Ports, Harbour and Waterways and Maritime Safety, Education and Administration to liaise with the Federal Ministry of Transportation to ensure the provisions of training/ocean going vessels.
They will also ensure that vessels that will help improve the competence of cadets were put in place in compliance with International Maritime Organization (IMO) standard.