A milestone has been recorded in Nigeria’s maritime educational history, particularly at the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN) Oron under the leadership of Commodore Duja Emmanuel Effedua. Weeks back, oil-rich Equatorial Guinea sent a letter to the Rector indicating interest in training its cadets in Nigeria.
Until now the narrative had been flowing in the opposite direction. Nigerians in need of standard maritime education and training were going to foreign countries like India, Philippines and Egypt for study. Never before in history had a foreign country found a maritime academy in Nigeria attractive and worthy enough to train its cadets.
The gesture from Equatorial Guinea speaks volume of the state-of-the-art modernization that has taken place in MAN-Oron under the visionary leadership of Commodore Effedua who has not only succeeded in putting Oron on the world map but also contributed to the positive image of the country and rebranding agenda under President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Rector has now become the first administrator to achieve the lofty vision of the academy, which is: “to be internationally recognized as a centre of excellence in Maritime Education and Training.”
Commodore Effedua has also delivered on the mission statement of the Academy which is: “To provide the Merchant Navy, the Maritime Industry and Allied Industries, qualitative education and training that accords with up-to-date technology, meets national and international standards and satisfies end-user expectation.”
The Maritime Academy of Nigeria, formerly known as the Nautical College of Nigeria was established in 1979 by the Federal Executive Council No.EC.(77) 172. It was designed as an integrated institution for the education and training of shipboard officers, ratings and shore-based management personnel. The Academy graduated its first batch of Cadets in 1983. In 1988, the scope of the college was upgraded by the promulgation Decree No. 16 of 1988 with a statutory mandate to train all levels and categories of personnel required for the effective and efficient operation of all facets of the Nigerian Maritime Industry.
What has so resoundingly boosted the image and academic status of MAN-Oron is the significant infrastructural, administrative and technical improvements in the institution within the last four years of Effedua’s administration.
For over three decades the academy had lost its academic reputation due to mismanagement and misappropriation by successive administrations. Today, however, cadets produced by MAN-Oron are better rated and have become fellows of the prestigious Nautical Institute in the United Kingdom.
Proud in his achievement of berthing a new dawn for MAN-Oron, Commodore Effedua said the Academy has become the most beautiful place in tAkwa Ibom State and one of the best in Nigeria.
“We are producing quality cadets. They petitioned that we have reduced the number, it’s not true. The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) governs everything we do here.
“Our job is to serve the country by providing qualitative training. Our graduates now are better than previous sets because we make them do mandatory courses for free. Everything they have is free because the money those within the system used to steal that they can’t steal anymore, I am putting to good use.”
“Equatorial Guinea wrote to us three weeks ago that they want to send their cadets here. Our academy has in recent times regained its superior academic reputation while our cadets have begun to be accorded respect in the maritime industry.
“Our cadets are the best so far for now. We won the award as the Best Maritime Training Provider in 2019. About 2,135 professionals from the maritime industry have been trained here in the last few years.
“IMO was so happy with us that they donated 2,000 books to us. The simulators we acquired are state-of-the-art and are in billions of naira, for which we did not get any loan.
“Before now our cadets went with one certificate. Now they go with about five to six certificates because the mandatory short courses they would have had to come back and pay for, we are doing it for them free. So they are better marketable than their seniors because they are now members of the Nautical Institute UK and EMEREST UK.
Six certificates instead of just one
One of the creative ways that Effedua introduced to improve standards exponentially is to pay for cadets to have series of short courses that IMO has made compulsory. Before now, upon graduation, cadets depart with only one certificate. Many could not afford to pay fees for the mandatory short courses and they more or less graduate, not in flying colours, but rather half-baked.
By paying the fees, the academy ensures its cadets pass out with multiple certifications which stand them on good stead in a global industry that is as dynamic as it is demanding of cutting-edge skills.
The mandatory short courses include:
- ISM (International Safety Management Code
- Refresher International Safety Management (ISM) Code
- DSD (Designated Security (Officer or Duties
- MSC (Maritime Security Course for Officers)
- Refresher Maritime Security Course (MSC
- Port Facility Security Officer Course (PFSO)
- Ship Security Officer Course (SSO)
- Basic Safety Training
- Proficiency in Survival Craft and Rescue Boats (other than Fast Rescue Boat)
- Proficiency in Survival REFRESHER Craft and Rescue Boats (other than fast rescue boat)
- Security Awareness Training
- Advance Fire Fighting
- Refresher Advance Fire Fighting
- Proficiency in Medical First Aid
- Proficiency in Medical Care on board Ship
- Refresher Proficiency in Medical Care on Boat Ship
- Oil Chemical Tanker Familiarization and Cargo Operation (OCTCO)
Upgrade to University
With the upgrade of MAN-Oron to a university, Commodore Effedua says an ultra-modern Engineering Workshop is his next target. The Rector also has his eyes on an Exhibition Hall which he says will be a kind of museum, where they will cannibalise a vessel in parts to train cadets on the functionality of a ship.
Sandy Onuh, a Senator from Cross River State said the university will give students the opportunity to specialise in international shipping and waterways transportation, port operations, management as well as exploitation and exploration of oil and gas as a boost for Nigeria’s economy.
The senator added that Nigeria has recorded losses in the maritime sector; a development which he added was largely due to deficits in manpower and seafarers. Nigeria, he said, has committed resources in search of university degrees, postgraduate degrees and professionals from the maritime industry outside Nigeria.
“The maritime environment requires highly trained personnel to manage the country’s enormous natural endowment and resources on our offshore, international shipping, oil and gas and expansion of coastline with waterways for a viable coastal and inland water transport industry.”
Academics in the Maritime sector pointed out to The Educational Tide (TED) that upgrading the academy into a university would help Nigeria in achieving the prerequisites of the International Maritime Organisation Convention on standard of training, certification and watch-keeping for seafarers.