A certificate of membership from the Nigerian Association of Master Mariners (NAMM) is a seal of recognition and authorisation for practice as a professional master mariner.
When the NAMM presented that certificate to Capt. Ibikunle Olayiwola recently, it brought him a greater sense of fulfillment to be so recognised in his home country.
With his Class 1, Olayiwola captains a ship, which is the ultimate for any master mariner.
Noble and committed to his duties, Capt. Olayiwola started his career with the Nigerian Navy as a seaman, and spent over a decade in the Navy before his adventure to the merchant navy.
He started his seaman training at the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN) Oron, in present day Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria, and was among the top seven students who graduated from his class of 28.
“In my set at the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, we were about 28 in the class, and out of that number, only seven of us passed out of the school without any reference,” Capt. Olayiwola said.
Proudly too, only two of them from his set did continue to the master mariner level as seamen.
Expressing his gratitude, he said: “I give thanks to God today because out of the 28 who started the cadetship in nautical science in MAN, Oron, only two of us made it to master mariner level. I am happy because with my Class 1, I captain a ship, which is the ultimate as a master mariner.”
The captain gentleman is humbly proud to have been mentored according to him “by people like Admiral Nyako, Rear Admiral Ayinla, Commodore Ukiwe, Admiral Ezeoba and a host of them distinguished naval
Today, Olayiwo desires to see improvement in training of young seafarers, for the benefit of continuity and provision of manpower for the sub-sector in Nigeria.
For that to be achieved, Olayiwola advises that ex-seafarers be engaged for classroom teaching and other practical training for younger seafarers, just as he wants a synchronisation between the number of cadets being trained and the available ships on which they should be placed.
Olayiwola loves his sea career in service to the nation at the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency.