Inadequate knowledge, bane of Nigeria’s shipping industry – Capt. Alao

Captain Tajudeen Alao

By Maritime Security News

President,Nigerian Association of Master Mariners and maritime expert,Captain Tajudeen Alao has said that one of the challenges facing the the maritime sector and particularly the shipping industry is nothing but lack of knowledge of what shipping is all about and how it operates.


The expert further noted actually, there are classes of shipping and  different classes of seafarers operating on the local and international waters.
The Master Mariner said, shipping is very simple.
”There are a lot of challenges facing Nigerian seafarers.The challenges are enormous but it is because of lack of understanding of what shipping is all about by those that are into the business”
He said,the seafarers operate in different categories and at different stage based on one’s area of specialization. Some of them are trained as sea men of different classes and operate differently.

Capt. Alao in an interview with Maritime Security News in his office in Lagos said,some are to operate on coastal waters, some on international waters. He also said that there are those who work on waterways while some travel all over via international water because of the nature of their job to trade on international.
”Now we have international trade, we have coastal trade, we have the inland water trade and then we have the fishing trade. There are those categorization. There are those on costal trade. ”There are those who are trained on certified  fishing boats, there those who are certified to trade on inland waters or coastal.
”Your training is limited to your examination, your training is limited to your experience or tutelage, do you understand? It is just like you as a journalist, if you are covering international news, you fly all over the world. Likewise those who trade on fishing boats. ”Those who cover international trade they fly all over the world, International Maritime Organization, IMO, United Nations, UN. But if you are covering news on the street, the difference will be clear, you see it?”

Captain further stated: ”But our people see everything as one. The Oil and Gas is there, it is different from shipping. There is what you call the transport aspect, the logistics aspect of oil and gas. There is water transport aspect of oil and gas. You know, we have the air, the sea, the water transport aspect of it. All these fall within the budget of oil and gas. Then you have physical movement that is going up and down from ship station to another. They are those that carry cargo from Lagos to Port Harcourt. There are shipment of containers, there are shipment of AGO or PMS. Or they carry palm kernel to industry. They are of different occupations and they all go to sea. But we have those who go through inland waterways. They go from here to Lokoja, from Lokoja to Baro. From Lagos to Warri through the inland waterways. It is a different trade with different training but we have mixed everything up. We also have carry rubber, a raw material from factory in Warri to a factory in Calabar. The problem we have is that we have mixed everything up. They work on tide and the Bergers have no proportion. Somebody will have to come and push it,we will not be certified. Like somebody who is driving tug boat or a ship. They cannot be physically certified like somebody who is driving a tug boat.”

The Master Mariner says for the above reasons, it becomes difficult to place or classify them and that nobody can know where there is shortage of manpower.
”It has become very difficult to place them, you cannot say in this area we have”

On Cabotage trade, he said :”When we talk of Cabotage, we have many ships offshore but our training does it march with it,? we still have foreigners who are trading and dominating our waters. This my friend, he just came from a ship that goes to Agola, Namibia, Cameroon, Sattome, in Lagos etc. It is just like that, it has gone to international waters. It is just like that. His job has left the shores of Nigeria, it has gone to international waters.
”Even within Africa or out Africa, they find their ways. The job has gone internationally”‘ Alao added.

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