The spate of pirate attacks in Nigeria’s maritime domain has been attributed to dearth of ships to engage the growing number of unemployed seafarers.
Linked to this is also the problem of lack of sea-time training for the cadets being produced annually from various maritime academies in the country.
Former President of the Indigenous Shipowners Association of Nigeria, ISAN, now known as the Nigerian Shipowners Association, NISA, Isaac Jolapamo, said piracy in the country can be traced to the period of the demise of most of the ships own by indigenous operators.
Jolapamo noted that about 20 years ago, a lot of ships were owned by indigenous operators which engaged thousands of seafarers.
He pointed out that with the collapse of most of the indigenous operators these seafarers have become idle and exposed to using their knowledge negatively.
He noted that while some of them would have been fortunate to have found other jobs, most of them would have nothing to do and therefore use their only known talent for survival by going into piracy.
In his words, “20 years ago, how many seafarers do we have, where are they now, what happened to them?
“Where are these people, do they still have work? How many ships do we have 20 years ago and how many do we have now?
“These are the things we are supposed to look critically at. 20 years ago l was saying if the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, then National Maritime Authority, NMA, started buying six ships for Shipowners every year, by this time we would have had 6×20.
“We created the problem of piracy, part of it is what we are seeing here today, we are training people and we are not getting anything for them to do.
“I was having more than 1,000 seafarers under my employment about 20 years ago, some of my captains are in NIMASA today as Directors and Assistant Directors, they know the problem of piracy, ask them,” he stated.
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