The Association came into being on the 31st of August, 1963 under the registered name of “Nigeria Merchant Shipping Officers Association” with Captain F.A. Ebong as her then Secretary General. The name was later changed to and registered as the “Nigeria Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Senior Staff Association” on Wednesday, the 15th November 1972. This name remained until 1978 February, when Mr. M.O. Abiodun commission’s report and recommendations of Trade Unions restructure exercise were accepted and published by the Federal Government. The published name of the Association by the Federal Government official Gazette No. 6 volume 65 as well as the Trade Unions (Amended) Act No-22 of 1978 was the ‘’Water Transport Senior Staff Association’’. The Merchant Navy Officers in the Association kicked against their exclusion, forwarded a protest letter to the Honourable Minister of Employment Labour and Productivity. They reasoned that the Association as it were was limited to Inland Water employees. They seagoing senior staff could not be accommodated in it unless there is a change of nomenclature A change to correct the anomaly was set in motion and same received the approval of The Minister of Labour, Major General Ike O.S. Nwachucku now (Rtd). The present name of the Association was again registered and Gazetted in the Federal Government official Gazette No. 23 of 30th April, 1987.

It will be of special interest to note that many of the Merchant Navy Officers in the Association boycotted the Organisation in between 1978 and 1987 when the Union remained under the name of “Water Transport Senior Staff Association” because they considered the name to be local while their jobs’ recognition was international in nature and standard.

You will see with us that the Association really battled with low moral of the remaining members of the Association especially in the pace setter company, the Nigeria National Shipping Line Ltd. now Liquidated since 1st October, 1995. From this major set back the Association could not do much or progress as expected or planned. This is where the undaunted spirit of its then Secretary General, in person of Chief Lola Olanipekun deserves our special commendation. He really stood his ground from the early eighties to when he transited and same made it possible for the Association to survive the terrible storm that dampened the morale of the generality of its members. Glory be to God that the Association passed through the hand of such a highly spirited leader.

The Association is administered at the National Secretariat that is headed by the Secretary General who takes directives from the National President. The Secretary General is assisted in the National Secretariat by the Deputy Secretary General, Assistant Sec. General and as well as an Accountant and other Secretariat staff.

The policy making body is the National Delegate Conference, the National Executive Council (NEC) and the Central Working Committee (CWC). The (NEC) is made up of all the elected officers, The Secretary General, The Deputy Sec. General, The Assistant Secretary General, Chairman and Secretaries of the zones. The CWC meets quarterly while NEC meets twice yearly and the delegate conference triennially. Apart from affiliation to Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), Nigeria Merchant Navy Officers Association is affiliated to International Transport Federation (ITF) London and a member of Indigenous Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (NISA) and Nigeria Seafarers Welfare Board (NSWB). The Association is also recognized by International Labour Organisation (ILO) and International Maritime Organisation (IMO).

It was actively involved in the current NJIC (National Joint Industrial Council), in respect of the bench mark for Nigeria Seafarers cut-across and also member of the Joint Task Force on Fake Manning Agents in NIMASA.

It has international recognition as it is an affiliate of Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) which is a worldwide Organisation made up of about 751 unions representing 4, 600,000 transport workers in 148 countries and also a member of Indigenous Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (ISAN).

The Association has participated in all the Maritime Conventions Vis a viz Convention 185, 188, 189 of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) from 2002 till date. The Association is a major stake holder in the Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), House of Senate and representative Maritime Committee and as well the Ministry of Labour & Productivity.

The Association Ex National President, Capt. Thomas Kemewerigha is the Chairman, National Coordinating Committee (NCC), ITF Nigeria chapter. The Association National President, Engr. Alalade Matthew Adedapo is a member of ITF African Regional Offshore Oil & Gas Taskforce, ITF Maritime Safety Committee and National Seafarers Welfare Board of Nigeria while Engr. Sadiq Adeola, is Chairperson, ITF Women Committee, Nigeria Chapter. Comrade Julius P.I. Efokpor is the Secretary General and Comrade Aleakhue John Okpono is the Assistant Secretary General of the Association who both represented the Association at the April, 2014 ILO MLC Tripartite Committee meeting, Geneva, Switzerland.

Leadership: As from inception in 1986, the following were the Association’s leaders.
Comrade Pilot Ekanem (NPA) – National President, 1986 – 1990.
Engr. F.P. Ugele (Shipping) – National President, 1990 – 1994.
Engr. M.A.A. Salami (Shipping) – National President, 1994 – 1999
Engr. Kuzi Oyinbe (Shipping) – National President, 1999 – 2000
Capt. Ben Gold Gageche (Shipping) – National President, 2001 – 2003
Engr. Fredrick A. Akinse (Fishing) – National President, 2003 – 2005
Capt. Thomas Kemewerigha (Fishing) – National President, 2006 – 2012
Engr. Alalade Matthew A. (Shipping) – National President, 2012 – 2020

Engr. Bob Joseph Yousuo (Offshore) – National President, 2020 till date


Comrade Captain F.A. Ebong – Secretary General, 1963 – 1986.
Comrade Lola Olanipekun – Secretary General, 1986 – 2005 and
Comrade Celestine Ikpe – Deputy Secretary General, 1998 – 2005
Comrade St. Peters Ashinwo – Secretary General, 2005 – 2006
Comrade Matthew Idowu – Deputy Secretary General, 2005 – 2006
Comrade Matthew Idowu – Secretary General, 2006 – 2009
Comrade Julius P.I. Efokpor – Secretary General, 2012 – Till date
Comrade Aleakhue John O. – Secretary General, 2020 – Till date

Scope/Jurisdiction: We are oblige by law (Trade Unions (Amendment) Act No 22 of 1978) to unionize Officers on board all Merchant vessels ranging from Manning of Ocean going vessels, Inland Waterways, Coastal and Harbour vessels or Crafts afloat, Fishing vessels, and all Offshore logistics vessels (Jack up barge, Survey vessels, Crew/Personnel carrier, Anchor Handling and Supply vessels, Security Patrol vessels, Maritime Institutions/Academies and Maritime Agencies and Parastatals etc.

Membership: Open to all onboard officers and shore senior staff employed in the manning of vessels as above.

Zonal Councils: The Association has seven (7) Zonal Councils. They are Shipping, Fishing, Offshore, National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Ports and Docks, Maritime Agencies & Parastatals and Maritime Institution/Academies. Each has a Zonal Chairman and a Secretary who reports to the National Secretariat of their day to day activities of the zone. The Association also has Women and Youth Wing.