INTERVIEW: Step by step guide on how to become a seafarer.
Captain Saliu Adetayo, is an executive of the Nigerian Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Senior Staff Association (NMNO&WTSSA), he started his seafaring career about 33 years ago. He started from cadetship to master.
He attended Federal College of Fisheries and Marine Technology as well as Maritime Academy in Ghana
According to him, he started his cadetship with Ship and Shore Shipping Company as well as other shipping companies like Equity Shipping, among others.
Sharing his experience, Captain Adetayo said he did his 18 months from where he went for his Certificate of Competency (COC) after which he came back as a third officer.
After another 18 months, the Merchant Navy chieftain, went for his Master (Home Trade).
In this interview, the veteran explained how an intending seafarer can make incursions into the profession.
Read and be educated.
What are the first steps to take if you want to be a SEAFARER?
You have to first obtain your Ordinary Level certificate with credit in five papers related to the course you want to study.
You then proceed to a maritime school to study courses like Nautical Science, Marine Engineering.
The Nautical Science is for the Deck Officers, navigation and chart work, seamanship, meteorology etc..
You have to complete your first two years in school after which you go for your cadetship onboard ship. After your cadetship, you will go back to obtain your COC for eligibility and go back to school. If you pass your exams, you will go back to the field as an officer and start the trade.
What are the necessary requirements before entering maritime school?
You have to pass five subjects in your WAEC depending on the course you want to study. For instance, to study Nautical Science, you have to pass Geography, Mathematics, English Language, Physics and one.other science subject in your WAEC.
At what level do you start when you are admitted into a maritime school?
You will start from National Diploma for schools running OND and HND but in Universities, you start from hundred level to run a degree course.
In our own time, it was only OND that we had but in advanced countries, they issued Degrees. During our time, we would go for OND and after our sea time, we would go for exams
These days in Nigeria, there are degree courses and you have to complete your degree after which you go for your cadetship to practise what you have learnt
How long does the cadetship take?
Cadetship takes 18 months after when you go back to school for your COC which will last for six months because you have to do tutorials and other things to prepare you for the exams. After the six months, you will be awarded Officer Of the Watch (OOW). After the OOW, you will have to do your 18 months again for the eligibility to go for your second class because in each stage or promotion, MLC requires practical training. That is what is meant by eligibility.
In seafaring, after your first practical which is the seamanship, you will go for your first COC which is the Officer Of the Watch either in the deck or in the engine room
When you get the certificate, you cannot proceed to another level without a practical experience. Your practical experience in OOw will now allow you to go for another theory which is another eligibility and it is a minimum of 18 months
Your eligibility is proven through your discharge and.must be stamped by a captain of a vessel.
Some people forge stamps that is why some companies will call the Human Resources Managers of shipping companies to confirm the CoC of seafarers.
Tell us the progression
After the OOw, you will go for Class 2 which will allow you move past third officer level. If you have your class 2, you can be second officer and chief officer depending on whether you did Unlimited or Limited. You can be chief officer if you did Unlimited that is not restricted to any mileage.
After your class 2, you will go for another practical and gather your eligibility to go for your class one.. in class one, you will do your oral and if you pass, they will give you your certificate and you become a master
At this level, you can start working only that you will have to renew your certificate every five year. The renewal is done by the Maritime regulatory agency or port state of each country.
What does it require to renew certificate?
Once it is about to expire, you will notify them and they will renew it with the fee attached to each port state.
The profession is not attached to the Certificate of Competency alone, there are other ordinary and advanced proficiencies like tanker familiarisation, medicals etc
What is the highest level that one can achieve in seafaring profession?
The master is the highest certificate but the person commanding the ship is the captain