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How to start a Maritime career as an Ordinary Seaman, Bosun, Motorman, and more in Nigeria

maritime seaman motorman bosun nigeria richmond okezie

I recently met a 3rd Engineer with an NLNG ship and we had an interesting conversation, which led me to write this article. She is due for promotion to the position of a 2nd Engineer aboard the ship. The ship transports gas from Nigeria to countries all over the world. The job has its risks and perks. Like the handsome pay, travelling the world, the adventure, the harsh weather, being stuck on the ocean for months, and possibly being kidnapped by pirates (just kidding). Their ship like most vessels contains the following three segments ranging from cadets to established marine officers;

The Deck: Chief Officer/Mate, Second Officer/Mate, Third Officer/Mate, Deck Cadets, Deck Rating, Bosun, Welder/Fitter, Able Seaman (AB), Ordinary Seaman (OS), Trainee (OS).

The Engine: Chief Engineer, Second Engineer/First Assistant Engineer, Third Engineer/Second Assistant Engineer, Fourth Engineer/ Third Assistant Engineer, Fifth Engineer/ Engine Cadet, Engine Room Rating.

Catering: Chief Cook, Trainee Cook, Steward, Fitter, Motorman, Wiper, Trainee Fitter / Trainee Wiper

So, you're interested in being a Seaman, good. First thing, find an experienced Seaman and talk to him. You will really need the guidiance. Visit the Ports, the launges around there, have a chat with one & befriend him/her. Also, note that certificates are not everything in the Maritime industry, experience in everything as the work is highly technical. So while bothering about getting the basic certifications, also consider how to get experience. I'd tell you how later.

An Ordinary Seaman is a seafarer in the deck department of a merchant ship who is undergoing training to become an Able seaman. The job of the OS on the deck of a ship includes cleaning the ship, taking care of it's paint job and in some cases standing guard, handling wires and cables, attaching and detaching the lifeboats etc.

An Able-bodied Seaman is a member of the deck crew and has varying roles from performing routine maintenance and docking duties,to performing Watch duties and other tasks as designated by the Deck Officers at their request.

A Bosun or Boatswain is the guy on the ship that ensures that everyone is doing their job. He is the one who ensures that the ship's officers are able to carry out their quota of work without constant direct involvement with the crew's deck work.

Take a Course

The first thing that you need to do is to have a maritime training in Nigeria or any country. Take the basic seaman training course known as BST and get a certification. The training includes; Sea Survival Techniques, Personal Safety and Social Responsibility, First Aid, Fire Fighting and Fire Prevention. Check here and here. Whatever role you're aspiring for, this is really the starting point.

Getting your paperworks in order

There are COC "certificate of competency" for every position onboard a vessel. For the ones we're discussing, the following are necessary;

BTS Certificate - Gotten in training school.

Seaman's Book - Serves as your passport in this industry.

STCW 95 Certificates

Passport - This is very basic as you'd have guessed.

Apply to Marine & Shipping Agencies.

After training and certifications, comes experience. There are many agencies out there, ensure you contact the legitimate ones. Reach out to Vessel Owners/Companies. A lot of these companies are in Apapa, and other cities where ports are located.

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Samson Tewogboye
Samson Tewogboye

I captain Samsonite


Do you have any legit link to ship owners or shipping companies you can share?

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