There had been 946 African graduates in various fields of maritime since the inception of the World Maritime University, Malmo, Sweden, of which 172 are Nigerians.
William Azuh, the Head of Africa Section, Technical Cooperation Division, International Maritime Organisation and Project Manager, Flag Port, West and Central Africa, made the disclosure on Monday in Lagos.
Azuh spoke at the ongoing Regional Training Course on Port State Control for the West and Central Africa region holding in Lagos.
For the International Maritime Law Institute, 224 Africans have graduated from the institution.
Out of this number, 74 are Nigerians.
Azusa said: “Nigeria would be said to have acquired reasonable maritime capacities to enable the country advance the course and fortune of the maritime sector.
“One important way of harnessing these critical asset (human capacity) is to establish a data base of graduates from these institutions as a resource base that could be pooled together to perform specific tasks in the sector when the need arises.
“However, the situation on ground in most of the countries is that these important human resource are deployed to areas and departments that have absolutely nothing to do with their training.
“A serious thought should be given to this serious gap.”
The IMO chief explained that Nigeria had a population estimate of 170 million people, greater percentage of who were young and mostly unemployed.
Azuh noted that able-bodied young people, if trained, could become an important source of manpower for shipping as well as foreign exchange earner for the country.
He said: “In the area of ship breaking and recycling, many countries in West and Central Africa, including Nigeria, have what it takes to establish ship breaking facilities.
“As member states of IMO, you are at liberty to request for IMO’s technical assistance for feasibility studies on the establishment of such facilities.
“It has often been said that we as Africans suffer from sea-blindness in the sense that we do not appreciate the wealth creation opportunities abundant in our maritime domain.
“We literally walk on wealth without realising it.
“The African Union’s 2050 AIM Strategy is one strategy of removing or better still treating the sea blindness.”