Nigeria’s first Marine Engineering Centre of Excellence commences Masters programmes by Andrea Ayemoba



The pioneer post graduate students at the Marine and Offshore Engineering Centre of Excellence have commenced studies at Rivers State University, Port Harcourt, involving 18-month academic and field work that will lead to the award of Masters degrees in Marine Engineering (Power Plants), Naval Architecture and Offshore and Subsea Engineering.

A Diploma in Marine and Offshore Engineering will also be awarded by the Centre which was established last year by the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) operated Joint Venture.

“We are pleased that the Centre of Excellence has taken off with students eager to achieve their dreams using hydrodynamic equipment that can simulate offshore/marine situations,” said SPDC’s General Manager External Relations, Igo Weli as he led a Shell team to witness the historic commencement of classes. “The Centre of Excellence is another powerful testimony on the educational initiatives of SPDC which began with the Shell scholarship scheme since the 1950s.”

The Centre of Excellence in Marine and Offshore Engineering – the first in Nigeria – offers a programme that covers lectures, practical sessions, term project modules and a six-month internship in the oil and gas industry. The Board of Trustees for the Centre which is chaired by the Vice Chancellor of Rivers State University, Prof. Blessing Didia, also held its inaugural meeting on the day the Shell team visited. Prof. Didia thanked SPDC and her partners for establishing the Centre of Excellence in the University, calling on undergraduate students in Marine Engineering and other Engineering disciplines to study harder as to qualify for enrollment into the programme.

The Director of the Centre, Dr. Ibiba Douglas stated that 10 students were admitted to the programme after a rigorous selection process, and commenced studies in April this year. Speaking at a lecture organised by the centre titled “An enabling business environment – implications for future careers in the oil and gas industry,” Mr. Weli called on youths in the Niger Delta to support the creation of a business environment that will attract investments to the region. He said: “The way we act, speak and manage conflict will help to create an environment where peace, investments and prosperity will thrive for the benefit of all stakeholders including communities.”

Mr. Weli echoed the same sentiments at a dinner which he later hosted to mark the take-off of the Centre which was attended by several stakeholders including the President of The Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN) Capt. Greg Ogbeifun, Managing Director of the Naval Ship-Yard Limited Commodore Abolaji Orederu and the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, Simbi Wabote (represented by Dr. Patrick Obah).

In other support for tertiary education, SPDC JV funds a Centre of Excellence in Geosciences and Petroleum Engineering at University of Benin, and endowed six Professorial Chairs at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife; University of Nigeria, Nsukka; University of Port Harcourt; Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria; University of Uyo; and the Federal University of Petroleum Resources (FUPRE), Effurun. The Chairs are in Geophysics, Environmental Management and Control, Petroleum Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, as well as Climate Change and Biodiversity Conservation. The Chair in Light Weight Automobile Engine Development at FUPRE is the most recent endowment and is expected to contribute to the growth of local content in Nigeria’s automobile industry.


Royal Marines storm beach in dramatic ‘raid’ as 11,000 troops carry out huge training exercise — The Sun

Military, News


ELITE Royal Marines stormed a Scottish beach yesterday along with troops from 16 other countries – but there is no need to panic it was only a training exercise. The Green Berets stormed the beach in Dundrennan, Scotland, as part of a wide-ranging military operation called Exercise Joint Warrior that involves all three of the…

via Royal Marines storm beach in dramatic ‘raid’ as 11,000 troops carry out huge training exercise — The Sun  

ELITE Royal Marines stormed a Scottish beach yesterday along with troops from 16 other countries – but there is no need to panic it was only a training exercise.

The Green Berets stormed the beach in Dundrennan, Scotland, as part of a wide-ranging military operation called Exercise Joint Warrior that involves all three of the British armed forces and servicemen and women from a total of 17 countries.

The bi-annual exercise which runs for two weeks from April 21 to May 4 is one of the biggest of its kind in Europe and involves around 11,600 military personnel, operating out of the Clyde naval base.

Along with British forces, military personnel from the likes of Denmark, Spain, Sweden, United States and Estonia, amongst others, are all taking part.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “Joint Warrior prepares our troops in the best way to meet the intensifying threats our country faces by providing a major opportunity to exercise with our allies.

“Our Armed Forces are the face of global Britain, and training side by side with troops from 16 other nations means we are stronger and more capable when it comes to keeping our countries safe and protecting our way of life.”

Linked to the NATO exercise programme and open to Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) Partner Nations, Joint Warrior also hosts non-NATO partners such as Australia, Finland and Sweden.

This year the training scenarios involve various nations disputing resources and territories; counter-terrorism and anti-smuggling activity; information warfare; and evacuation operations.

Captain Joint Tactical Exercise Planning Staff, Captain Paul Pitcher RN, said: “This exercise gives the UK participants a chance to train with our allies and partners, honing our skills and developing our tactics.

“It is hugely important in making sure that we can fuse all elements of our capabilities, enhancing our ability to conduct joint operations now and in the future.”

It will culminate on Salisbury Plain Training Area on May 3 where JEF forces, including troops from the UK Parachute Regiment, will conduct urban combat operations with air support provided by Apaches, Chinooks, Wildcats and Tornados.

ISS Spotlight: building a new corps of dedicated African counter-terrorism experts

Africa, Boko Haram, Terrorism
With its skilled staff, professional networks and wealth of original research, ISS helps Africa tackle an evolving threat.

2018-04-11-training-spotlight-banner.jpgThe Institute for Security Studies (ISS) is helping African police to understand and combat terrorism on the continent, and to investigate and prosecute terrorism cases. Willem Els, a senior training coordinator at the ISS, is building a corps of well-trained African counter-terrorism experts while adapting international best practice to local conditions.

Threats include Boko Haram in Nigeria and the Lake Chad Basin, al-Shabaab in Kenya and Somalia, and al-Qaida affiliates across the Sahel and North Africa. Three African countries – Nigeria, Somalia and Egypt – are in the global top ten countries most affected by terrorism, according to the 2016 Global Terrorism Index. Terrorism on the continent is particularly lethal, with six African states (Nigeria, Tunisia, Chad, Niger, Kenya and Cameroon) in the top ten countries with the highest average deaths per attack.

Police and prosecution services need specific skills to detect, combat, investigate and prosecute terrorism. The ISS helps to build these capacities through its expert staff and professional networks.

Els has an abundance of skills and experience. He served 28 years as a police officer in South Africa, with leadership positions in the national bomb squad, and time as an undercover sky marshal in the aviation anti-hijacking unit. He is a member of the International Association for Bomb Technicians and Investigators, with experience preparing disposal experts to work in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Now Els is sharing his knowledge with African police and prosecutors, working in partnership with policing organisations in East and West Africa, as well as Interpol, the United Nations, African Union and the EU.

‘It is rewarding to see my skills and experience embraced and integrated into the daily operations of people who deal with terrorism in Africa,’ he says. ‘We are investing in and empowering the next generation of passionate and competent counter-terrorism experts.’

Effective counter-terrorism requires an integrated training approach. The ISS has helped to create the official counter-terrorism manual for police agencies in East, West and southern Africa. Essentially an African counter-terrorism training handbook, it covers intelligence, explosives and bomb disposal, crime scene handling, weapons of mass destruction, causes of radicalisation and the evolution of terror.

ISS training spans national, regional and international legal instruments, extradition, state-sponsored terror, counter-intelligence, border control, biological weapons, dirty bombs and collection of evidence. ISS trainers are supported by African experts with world-class experience in subjects ranging from hostage negotiations, incident management andprosecution of terrorists.

Discussions are underway with a top South African university to accredit the training to diploma or post-graduate level and then offer it as a distance learning module.

The recognised value and impact of ISS training is based on its comprehensive and integrated counter-terrorism curriculum, and the deep working relationships with African police services and Interpol offices across the continent.

‘We go well beyond professional relationships based on technical expertise,’ says Els. ‘We bond as friends and comrades who face a common threat.’

‘The ISS is welcomed and respected as an African organisation which cares deeply about the continent’s security. We are embraced as true African partners who find local solutions to African challenges.’

Working with east African police, Els and other experts have produced standard operating procedures which serve as an investigators’ field guide following an incident. Terrorism is a threat that keeps evolving, so Els runs refresher courses for investigators, and specialised training when required. This includes bringing together frontline bomb technicians and intelligence experts from different terror hotspots to share their experience.

Annual field training supported by the ISS sees hundreds of police from across Africa participate in simulated hijackings, hostage negotiations, tactical interventions, defusing explosives, working with dogs and investigating a terror scene.

The ISS also hosts annual workshops where African heads of counter-terrorism and crime investigation discuss and agree regional priorities and identify new focus areas, such as the role of women in extremism. These discussions are informed by the wealth of original ISS research on violent extremism in Africa.

Working as a counter-terrorism trainer is not without its emotional challenges. Els tells a harrowing story of a late-night call from Somalia where three policemen had been blown up after following on-site instructions to approach a suspect vehicle. The caller survived the incident because he followed protocols learned in his ISS training.

For more information contact:

Willem Els, ISS: +27 82 554 7695,

Picture: Jacqueline Cochrane/ISS