Ship captain Ogunsakin Rotimi has expressed concerns about the lack of government investment in Nigeria’s maritime sector, leading to a decline in the skills and effectiveness of Nigerian seafarers. He believes that this neglect has benefited foreigners who are now dominating Nigerian waters. Rotimi stated that the seafaring profession in Nigeria is in a state of emergency and requires urgent attention. He criticized the government for downgrading the competencies and efficiency of their own seafarers, to the advantage of foreigners.
Rotimi highlighted that in previous years, foreign seafarers were highly regarded and would not accept coastal jobs within Nigerian territorial waters. However, the current crop of seafarers is no longer considered competent to navigate vessels in their own waters. He lamented the decline in seafaring opportunities for Nigerian officers and ratings, despite the existence of maritime institutions in the country.
With the implementation of the Cabotage Act and the waiver system, Nigerian waters are now dominated by expatriate seafarers, leaving indigenous seafarers with limited competitive roles. Rotimi emphasized the need for investment in the sector to improve the skills and opportunities for Nigerian seafarers and to regain their prominence in the maritime industry.
Overall, Rotimi’s concerns highlight the urgent need for government investment in Nigeria’s maritime sector to improve the skills and opportunities for Nigerian seafarers, who are currently being overshadowed by foreign counterparts.
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