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Career Opportunities In Nigeria’s Maritime Sector: Customs Perspective

Career Opportunities In Nigeria’s Maritime Sector: Customs Perspective

As part of events to mark Children’s Day celebration, the Deputy Comptroller (Enforcement) Dera Nnadi represented the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) Tin Can Island Port Command, Lagos presented a paper at the Vow Ventures 2018 Children’s Day Ocean Ambassadors programme at the Export Promotion Council, Apapa, Lagos. Find out the numerous opportunities in the nation’s maritime sector:



Nigeria Customs Service is grateful to Vow Ventures Limited and the promoters of the 2018 ocean ambassador’s project who made it possible for today’s event. The Comptroller General of Customs Colonel Hammed Ibrahim Ali (Rtd) has expressed his gratitude for the opportunities given to the Service to further enlighten the youths  on the maritime sector and the career opportunities inherent.


Maritime industries includes enterprises engaged in the business of managing or operating shipping lines, customs brokerage, ancillary services that include ship building, and repairs, insurance,  provision of security, regulatory activities, ports and harbour management, marine research & oceanography, international communications, litigations  etc.

Diverse Activities:

The maritime sector offers huge economic potentials and employment opportunities, adventures and fun for all class of persons. The industry is diverse but can be divided into three main categories:

i.              Marine operations such as shipping, ship building, import-export activities etc.

ii.            Law enforcement and regulatory activities such as interventions by government agencies like Nigeria Customs Service, Nigeria Immigrations Service, Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Nigeria Ports Authority, Shippers Council, Nigeria Navy, Inland Waterways Authority, National Agency for Food Drugs and Administrative Control, Standard Organisation of Nigeria , National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, Police  etc.

iii.           Commercial support activities such as insurance brokerage, legaland marine litigations, information technology, training and capacity building institutions, environment, health and food services.

Specifically, some exciting career opportunities in the maritime sector include:

·         Marine Engineer – The career of marine engineers deals with maintenance and repair of ship’s machinery.

·         Naval Architect – The profession of naval architecture involves planning and designing of ships and sea going vessels.

 ·         Shipping Broker – The profession of a ship broker deals with buying and selling of ships and shipping cargo. As a Ship Broker the person would act as a link between the ship owners and charterers.

 ·         Bosun – The job of bosun falls under the deck department of careers on ships. Bosun helps in carrying out various operations of the ship and also leads the crew department of the ship.

 ·         Oil Driller  – As an oil driller the person is involved with drilling activities on oil rigs or offshore vessels.

 ·         Ordinary Seaman (OS)  – This job involves performing work in the deck department of the ships. Career as an ordinary seaman is the stepping stone for a promising career at the sea.

·         Ship Fitter – The job of the ship fitter involves repairing and maintenance of the ship under the guidance of the ship officer.

·         Tool Pusher – A tool pusher is a person who is in-charge of maintaining a continuous supply of necessary equipment on an oil rig.

·         Tugboat Jobs – Jobs on tugboats are for those people who love sea but want to stay connected with the shore as well.

·         Shipbuilding Engineer – Shipbuilding engineer deals with the engineering aspect of design and construction of ships and marine vessels. Just like any conventional engineering field, a shipbuilding engineer has to go through four years of training to be eligible to work in a shipbuilding yard.

·         Shipping Freight Broker – Shipping freight broker acts as a link between those who want to ship cargo and those who have ships to transport that cargo. The career of shipping freight broker is a highly competitive and rewarding field.

·         Cruise Ship Designer – Ever wondered how those massive cruise ships are designed? If you have a penchant for designing things, then this can be an exciting career for you.

·         Shipwright – A shipwright is a person who is involved with designing and construction of ships. A highly specialized field, shipwright is all about making of ships and marine vessels.

·         Pump man – The job of a pump man deals with pipelines on ships and offshore vessels. This is an extremely responsible job which requires both physical and mental strength.

·         Job Opportunities on Yachts – Jobs on yachts are also one of the most sought after careers around the world because of the glamour and money attached with the same.

·         Roughneck – The job of a roughneck involves laborious work on oil rigs and offshore platforms. It is one of the lower level marine jobs.

·         Motorman – The job of a motorman on ship is to help in maintenance and watch keeping of the ship’s engine room. This is one of those marine careers which require lesser qualifications. However, like all marine jobs, this is also a rewarding one.

·         Wiper – Wiper helps in maintenance of the ship and assists ship officers in carrying out various procedures. Though this career requires fewer qualifications, there is great scope to learn and grow.

·         Marine Environmental Management – If you are an environment lover and are concerned about the deteriorating state of the global environment, then the marine environmental management is the right thing for you.

·         Scientific & academic careers in maritime sector – These are opportunities as can be found  in fields such as ocean engineering, marine biology, marine mammal trainer, marine archaeology, marine researcher, oceanography, aquatic veterinarian, marine scientist, or marine environmental economist.

·         Barge Engineer – The job of a barge engineer is to ensure smooth functioning of the barge and other operations involved. An important position in the oil and gas industry, the career of barge engineer has a lot to offer.

·         Underwater Photography – This is definitely the most glamorous and adventurous marine career which requires both great skills and courage. If you are interested in marvellous underwater world and have a thing for photography, then there is no better career than this.

·         Career in Underwater Exploration – There are great mysteries lying at the ocean floor. If you are intrigued by what lies beneath the blue surface then the career of underwater exploration is the right thing for you. Needless to say this is unique and requires great deal of physical and mental strength.

·         Aquaculture – If fishes and sea life interests you then aquaculture can become a marine career of your interest. This is an unconventional career option which requires great interest and passion to undertake.

·         Ship Banker – Though not totally a marine career, ship banking or financing helps to understand the system behind the commercial aspect of the shipping industry. If you are interested in banking and the marine world, the being a ship banker can be extremely rewarding.

·         Electro Technical Officer – The career of electro technical officer deals with understanding and maintaining electrical equipment and systems on board ships or offshore vessels.

·         Cargo engineer – The marine work of cargo engineer deals with supervising loading, discharging and conditioning of cargo which is transported by ships. This is one field of engineering which is always in demand.

·         Gas Engineer – The job of gas engineer mainly deals with offshore oil and gas industry. This is one marine career which requires great physical and mental skills. It is one of the most rewarding marine careers out there.

·         Maritime Reporter – An extremely amazing job for those who would love to explore different aspects of the marine world.  Maritime reporter deals with reporting news, hidden stories, and amazing trends of the marine world.

·         Marine Underwriter – The job of a marine underwriter falls under the marine insurance department. A marine underwriter is a professional who has the expertise of various aspects of marine insurance.

·         Radio Officer – The career of radio officer is slowly disappearing because of the advancement in technology. It is being replaced by internet, telephones and other modern communications tools. However, those interested in the amazing world of ship navigation must explore this field.

·         Cruise Ship Captain – This is the ultimate job any person interested in marine careers would like to have. Being a captain of a cruise ship is a matter of great pride. This is one rewarding job which involves great responsibility as well.

·         Shipper – A shipper deals with various formalities attached with the cargo that has to be shipped. Shipper also takes the responsibility of ensuring that the cargo reaches its intended destination without any accident or mishap.

·         Shipping Agent – A shipping agent is a person who deals with the transactions of a ship in every port that the ship visits or docks. He or she is a local expert that acts as a representative of the owner of the ship and carries out all essential duties and obligations required by the crew of the ship.

·         Ship Chandler – A ship chandler is a person who exclusively deals with supplying commodities to the ship and its crew. This is very lucrative but hardly explored in Nigeria.

·         Marine Archaeology – Interested in finding hidden truths lying at the ocean floor? A career in marine archaeology deals with the history of the marine world. This is an interesting field which is both unique and adventurous.

·         Subsea Engineer – This is an interesting career option which is a part of offshore industry. A subsea engineer is mainly responsible for digging out crude oil and gases from the vast marine reserves using the latest technologies.

·         Navy Medical Personnel – This job is for those  candidates who are looking for a respectful and rewarding career as  medical doctors, nurses or health technologist  at the sea either in naval or commercial vessels.

·         Marine Biologist – A career in marine biology deals with understanding and researching the living organisms found in the sea. This is supposed to be known as the most sought after careers in today’s time.

·         Maritime Consultant – Maritime consultants are people who have the expertise to advice and suggest better trade routes and address other necessary shipping concerns to individuals and corporations engaged in the marine business to help them boost, advance and further their business positively. As a career in maritime consultant, the person requires several years of experience in the same field.

·         Maritime Security Jobs – The job of maritime security officer is in great demand lately because of the rise in piracy activities.

·         Hydrographic Surveyor – A career in hydrography deals with various aspects of the ocean such as geography, hydrogeology, and geophysics. This is an ever green field which required great expertise and knowledge.

·         Ocean Engineer  – OceanEngineering is a unique field which deals with various aspects of construction of offshore structures such as planning, designing and construction. This is a sought after career which is equally demanding.

·         Maritime Lawyer – As a maritime lawyer one deals with maritime laws, rules and regulations of the sea, and aspects related to the commercial side of shipping.

·         Ship’s Steward – It’s a job that falls under the hospitality department of the ships. This is a demanding job which is also rewarding.

·         Boat Mechanic – The responsibility of a boat mechanic includes repairing, installation of required machinery and carrying out periodic upkeep of the boat. Certain boat mechanics are also called upon to carry out restoration work for boats.

·         Lawyers, Insurance brokers and marine surveyors also play major roles in the maritime industry and offer great career opportunities.

·         Other government and regulatory institutions such as Nigeria Customs Service, Immigrations, Nigeria Navy, Port Health, Nigeria Ports Authority, Nigeria Maritime Administration & Safety Agency, Shippers Council, Standard Organisation of Nigeria, National Agency for Food and Drug Administrative Control and their subsidiaries also offer job opportunities in the Maritime sector.


Government should create enabling environment for growth of the industry through capacity building. Such capacity should target the young in a catch them young effort. There should be adequate budgetary provision for institutions that offer maritime education. There should be support for Non-Governmental Organisations that lend support to the career development of the youths that show interest in the Maritime sector. Government Agencies and Business in the industry should offer corporate social responsibility for the growth of youth capacity in the sector.

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