R-L: President, Nigerian Shipowners Association (NISA) Capt Labinjo, Rtd Col. George Ukeachu of Military Intelligence and Secretary of Merchant Navy Directorate, Capt Alfred Oniye at the 2018 World Seafarers Day celebration in Apapa Lagos last week.
The Nigerian Shipowners Association (NISA) has warned Nigerian seafarers to stop purchasing certificates, saying that many of the seafarers in Nigeria are not competent and they mainly engage in buying of certificates in order to secure jobs onboard ships.
President of NISA, Capt Niyi Labinjo dropped this bombshell at the celebration of the Day of the Seafarers in Lagos last week. He charged the seafarers to go back to school and learn the profession of seafaring and what it takes to work onboard ships, according to him, there is no alternative to good training.
“There is no alternative to proper training, that is what I and other professionals are carrying about today, it is good training that has kept us going, don’t buy certificates, for as long as you continue to buy certificates, you would get onboard, but you would be like a fish out of water because when you get onboard, you would be faced with situations where you cannot help and it may cost everybody their lives”, he warned.
While narrating the ordeal of one of the shipowners in the hands of an unqualified engineer who was employed onboard the vessel, Labinjo said, “three months ago, somebody cried to me that he needed an engineer onboard”
“I sent an engineer onboard to go and look at the engine, on getting to the vessel; he asked the chief engineer where the dip stick is, he wanted to check the sum, and the engineer who has been onboard for two years does not know what is sum or where the dip stick was, this is because he was not a qualified engineer”
“Meanwhile, anytime the owner says he has a contract, please go and handle it, the crew would tell him that the ship cannot move, and that they need certain items which the owner still sends across. N56million was expended to buy spear parts, including buying a Governor, only for us to later detect that nothing was wrong with the Governor”
“When we now sent somebody onboard, we discovered that the sum has dried, meanwhile, this same engineer would collect engine oil but he was not using it because he doesn’t know where to pour it, so the ship could not work. As a result of this visit, we also discovered that the gear box of the ship has burnt, all the bearings are gone, the sea chest was blocked, among many other faults”
“Some of you are like that, and for as long as this continues, the ship owner can never do anything, and if the ship does not work, you cannot get paid, it would be difficult”
“If you chose to be a seafarer, one thing about seafaring is that we are all very dedicated, if you are not a dedicated worker, you cannot go to sea, you would see various challenges at sea, so first thing for you is to go and learn and take your courses”
“A lot of you are not efficient, but that is the situation we have come across and we need to improve” he said.