Senate has raised concern over the alarming deficit in the country’s seafaring manpower capacity, just as experts pointed that Nigeria can generate $12 billion yearly from the seafaring profession.

This was made known during the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN) 2020 passing-out-parade/graduation ceremony of 235 Cadets at Iron, Akwa lbom State, Chairman OF Senate Committee on Maritime Transport, Senator Danjuma Goje, who was represented by Senator Akon Eyakenyi, highlighted the need for increased seafarers’ training to bridge manpower gap in the profession.

He said: “Maritime administration and learning is critical to the economy of Nigeria because as an import-dependent nation, over 90 percent of our trade, both import and export, is through the sea. Maritime trade is undertaken by professionals (seafarers) who must undergo prescribed courses of training in line with standards set by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).

“However, despite the Academy’s effort at producing seafarers, Nigeria still has a huge deficit in terms of seafaring manpower. Therefore, there is the need to ensure greater numbers of well-trained professionals are churned out as seafarers in the country without compromising quality and standards.”

Also speaking, the President of the Ship Owners Association of Nigeria, (SOAN), Dr. MkGeorge Onyung, \the management of the Maritime Academy needs to be encouraged to sustain its current manpower training momentum, adding that Nigeria can generate $12 billion yearly from the seafaring profession.

Onyung said Nigeria has the potential to overtake Philippines as the world’s leading seafaring country.

“Seafarers and the ship owners have the key to unlock the economic potential of this country. The Philippines, which ranks as number one in seafaring today, has only 400,000 seafarers manning ships globally. The 400,000 Philippine seafarers generate $6 billion yearly to the country’s economy,” he said.

He said the global economy is gradually turning blue. He added that seafarers possess the key to unlock the future of the country’s economy.