Again, Rear Admiral Siempre Ombo (Rtd) has stated that except the Nigerian Merchant Navy is constitutionally recognized and established, seafarers would continue to live and operate in a rudderless ship.
He told our correspondent in a chat that the need for an Act establishing the Nigerian Merchant Navy had become stronger, considering the disruption that the maritime industry would deal with post COVID-19 pandemic.
His words: “We must accept this truth and seek ways to correct it.The old generation of truly “Nigerian” Merchant Navy personnel are gradually fading away.They had the Civil War, NNSL and the ECOMOG to bind them together, groom, train and retrain them. They had their own pride
of place without bearing NN ranks and wearing confused uniforms.
“We must go back to the root cause of the nation’s lack of a constitutionally recognized Nigerian Merchant Navy and do everything to quickly establish one.
Ombo had earlier in February 2020, told OnePageAfrica in an interview that the absence of a constitutionally-recognised Nigerian Merchant Navy may continue to make it difficult for Nigerian seafarers to work toward advancing their common interest and enhancing the development of the Nigerian Maritime Industry.
After 35 years of meritorious service in the Nigerian Navy and retirement, he has continued to serve the maritime industry as a maritime security consultant.
Ombo had encouraged the Nigerian seafarers to seek the establishment of a structure backed by an act of the law such as a Nigerian Merchant Navy Act, to enable seafarers find a ‘home’ where they would be able to pursue their concerns better.
He had lamented that the demise of the Nigerian National Shipping Line (NNSL) left the seafarers scattered and made them go after several different associations to at least have a voice, a situation he said had not augured well for the seafarers.
Ombo said his present worry is the fact that there is no structure and succession plan to accommodate upcoming generations of Nigerian seafarers.