By Sandra Chukwunyere
Nigeria as a maritime nation has been called upon to upgrade its human development capacity as far as seafaring and shipping operations are concerned. This will help her maximize its marine potential, meet up with international best practice in international shipping business as well as ensure that she produces of higher quality instead of higher quantity.
This is also said to be very necessary mostly at a time we are now, this era of technological improvement in the areas of shipbuilding and operations, a time when more ships are build with highly sophisticated and technological vessels with equally high capacities of carrying as higher as up to 20 Tonnage Equivalent Units (TEU) and the time when lesser seamen are working on board sea going vessels.
This was one of the things that bothered Capt.Warredi Enisouh last weekend while presenting a paper at two day national convention organised by members of the Alumni of Maritime Academy of Nigeria Oron (AMANO) held in Lagos.
Capt. Warredi is a maritime expert and the Chief Coordinator, Agge Deep Seaport, a Bayelsa State Government sponsored project advised Nigeria to pay more attention to the quality of seafarers trained in Nigeria as a maritime nation, than the quantity churned out by the country.
According to Warredi, who pointed out that his observation was based on his years of researched and that available facts and figures show that cargo at the moment especially inflow of goods in Nigeria is increasing in volume and quantity while the numbers of vessels transporting them is decreasing on daily basis due to advancement in shipping and technology.
He further noted that the reason behind such increase in the volume and quantity of cargo was as a result of the sizes of vessels are seriously increasing as well and that is indirectly affects and reduces the number of seafarers that man the vessels thereby ensuring that only
well trained seafarers will be allowed to go onboard the vessels.
On his word: time and technology have changed and have continued to impact directly on shipbuilding, bigger ship would be constructed, maintaining that what six vessels,.each carrying 3,500 containers would transport in the past
are presently, carried by one vessel with a capacity for 20,000 TEU capacity.
On the development deep seaports, Warredi posited that: ”I want to explain a couple of things to you about the presentation. If you look at the presentation, there were some figures I put about vessels and cargo and whatever.”
Still commenting on the research material, he said: ”There were researched data, based on materials obtained on research conducted on a number of vessels, especially on the number of containers that came to West Africa.
”You will notice that the trade volume is increasing. But, it also exposes the errors of some of our people who don’t deal with facts or think there be stringent requirement for seafarers, and that is completely wrong.
”Now if you look at the figures I put out there, you will see that the amount of cargoes is increasing but instead of the number of ships increasing, it is the size of the ships that are increasing.”
He further stated: ”This is what is bringing about all these deep sea port issues. So as the ship gets bigger, .less number of ships are coming but more cargoes are coming in.
”So, how can we have a National Shipping Development Programme (NSDP) anchored on levity?
On what ground would it stand? It is completely wrong. That is why they are seriously struggling; nobody is doing the research.”
To him, ”The tonnage of ships are increasing but the accommodation of the ship is getting smaller; automation is also coming in.
”You will find a ship carrying 21,000 containers, but its crew is only 19 where a ship carrying 3,500 containers is 6.7 having only 19 crew. So you would see that the 21,000\6gg has completely taken off seven of 3,500 containers, and you multiply three by 19, that is 62 crew minus ten”