Stakeholders demand use of Customs’ vessels for maritime academies
Stakeholders from maritime academies have called on the Federal Government to donate the Nigeria Customs Service’s (NCS) sea-going vessels to the institutions as part of efforts to build capacity for seafarers and cadets.
The two ocean-going ships have been idling in Lagos waters since their deployment to Nigeria from Europe in 2014.
The vessels – MV Group of Nine and MV Customs Pride – are sophisticated watercraft built with Roll Royce engines to comb territorial waters.
Speaking against the lackluster attitude of the management of the NCS, the stakeholders said they should be handed over to reputable maritime academies for optimal utilisation.
They said the vessels might have been out of class, even as they reiterated that students of the academies will benefit immensely in proffering solutions to sea time experience.
Registrar, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Francis Omotosho, said since the vessels are under-utilised by the marine team of NCS, there was a need to hand them over to some reputable maritime schools.
Omotosho noted that the vessels have the capacity to train Nigerian youths and will further save the cost of sending students overseas for sea time experience.
“If the vessels are bought with government money for the NCS and they refuse to use it, then it will be advisable that they give it out for training of students who are studying nautical science related courses for adequate sea time simulation and practical training,” he said.
The Registrar, Ports and Terminals Management Academy of Nigeria (POTEMAN), Dr. Samuel Babatunde, stressed the need for government to direct the customs to hand over the vessels to some of the maritime training institutes.
He said a memorandum of understanding (MoU) should also serve the purpose of training cadets, adding that the idleness of the ships is a colossal loss to the nation’s economy.
The POTEMAN Registrar said the sea-going vessels can bridge the gap of sea time experience, noting that students will benefit from the ships if taken over by the maritime institutions for training purposes.
He said the effort should be put in place to see if the abandoned vessels are still relevant to the modem shipping practice.
“In as much as the Nigerian government, through NIMASA couldn’t acquire training vessels for sea time, alternatively, the industry watchers call on the government to donate abandoned vessels by customs to maritime academies to bridge the gap of sea time experience.
“At least, our cadets can have more fair experience than none. Most importantly, the ships do not constitute a hazard to the trainers and the trainees respectively.
“Lastly, efforts should be put in place to ascertain their legal status before engagement to avoid trespassing on another person’s property,” Babatunde added.