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Nigerian seafarers need ‘structure’ for clear direction- Ombo

Rear Admiral Godwill Siempre Ombo(Rtd)

The absence of a
constitutionally-recognised Nigerian Merchant Navy may continue to make it difficult for
Nigerian seafarers to work toward advancing their common interest and enhancing the development of the Nigerian Maritime Industry.

Renowned mariner, Rear Admiral Godwill Siempre
Ombo (Rtd), who had served over 35 years of meritorious service in the Nigerian Navy, on retirement, has continued to serve the maritime industry as a maritime security consultant, shared that concern in a chat.

Ombo noted that Nigerian
seafarers must seek the establishment of a structure backed by an act of the
law such as a Nigerian Merchant Navy Act, to enable seafarers find a ‘home’
where they would be able to pursue their concerns better.

He lamented that the demise of
the Nigerian National Shipping Line (NNSL) left the seafarers scattered and
made them go after several different associations to at least have a voice, a situation he said had not augured well for the seafarers.

Ombo said: “The impact of the
Nigerian Merchant Navy on Nigeria’s maritime trade sank with the unfortunate
passing away of the NNSL. 

“The NNSL nosedived, its
personnel survived and continued to become Master Mariners and Chief Engineers
with their respective associations (Merchant Navy Officers Clubs).

“However, there was no defined
established structure to properly nurture the seafarers that came after them
and consequently today’s generation of seafarers, irrespective of their
certificates, are all adrift on a rudderless ship with no clear direction of
how to get to a safe haven.

“I keep asking to be shown a
Nigerian Merchant Navy Act.  I am yet to
see any, be it a decree or a gazette.

 If all Nigerian mariners can agree there is
none, then we can come together to establish a constitutionally recognized
edifice and structure that would become “home” for today’s seafarers
as well as for upcoming generations of seafarers.”

Ombo is convinced that a  constitutionally-established Nigerian Merchant Navy would do Nigerian seafarers and the nation’s maritime industry, a world of good.

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