How To Join Merchant Navy In Nigeria

How to Join Merchant Navy in Nigeria

The merchant navy is an important part of the maritime industry that deals with the transportation of cargo and passengers by sea. Being a part of the merchant navy can be a lucrative and adventurous career option. But how does one join the merchant navy in Nigeria? In this article, we will explore the different steps involved in becoming a part of the merchant navy in Nigeria.

What is Merchant Navy?

Before we dive into the details of how to join the merchant navy in Nigeria, let's first understand what it is. Merchant navy refers to the non-combatant commercial fleet of ships that are used for transportation of goods and passengers. It is different from the navy, which primarily deals with national defense and security. Merchant navy ships are owned by private companies and individuals, and their crew members are employed by these companies.

Eligibility Criteria

To join the merchant navy in Nigeria, there are certain eligibility criteria that one needs to meet. The minimum requirements are:

  • The candidate must be a Nigerian citizen
  • The candidate must be between 18 and 25 years of age
  • The candidate must have completed secondary education with a minimum of five credits in subjects like Mathematics, English, and Science.
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Additionally, candidates who have completed courses like Nautical Science or Marine Engineering are preferred.

Training and Certification

To work in the merchant navy, one needs to undergo training and obtain the necessary certifications. There are different courses that one can pursue, depending on the role they want to take up. Some of the popular courses include:

  • Deck Cadet Course: This course is for those who want to become navigation officers. It involves training in subjects like Seamanship, Navigation, and Ship Stability.
  • Marine Engineering Course: This course is for those who want to become marine engineers. It involves training in subjects like Thermodynamics, Marine Electrical Systems, and Marine Control Systems.
  • Electro-Technical Officer Course: This course is for those who want to become electro-technical officers. It involves training in subjects like Electrical Systems and Electronic Navigation.

After completing the training, candidates need to obtain the required certifications from regulatory bodies like the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).

Applying for Jobs

Once you have completed the necessary training and obtained the required certifications, you can start applying for jobs in the merchant navy. There are different ways to find job openings, such as:

  • Checking the websites of shipping companies: Many shipping companies advertise job openings on their websites. You can check these websites regularly to find suitable job opportunities.
  • Contacting crewing agencies: Crewing agencies are companies that provide human resource services to shipping companies. You can contact these agencies and submit your resume to them.
  • Attending job fairs: Job fairs are events where shipping companies and crewing agencies come together to recruit candidates. You can attend these events to meet potential employers and learn about job openings.
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Salary and Benefits

The salary and benefits in the merchant navy vary depending on the position and experience of the individual. On average, a deck cadet can earn between ₦120,000 to ₦150,000 per month, while a chief engineer can earn upwards of ₦1,000,000 per month. In addition to the salary, crew members are also entitled to benefits like free accommodation, medical insurance, and travel allowances.


Joining the merchant navy in Nigeria requires dedication, hard work, and perseverance. It involves meeting the eligibility criteria, undergoing training and certification, and applying for jobs. While it can be a challenging career, it can also be rewarding both in terms of financial benefits and the opportunity to travel the world.


1. Can females join the merchant navy in Nigeria?

Yes, females can join the merchant navy in Nigeria as long as they meet the eligibility criteria and undergo the necessary training.

2. Is there a maximum age limit for joining the merchant navy in Nigeria?

Yes, the maximum age limit is 25 years for most positions in the merchant navy.

3. Can I join the merchant navy if I have a criminal record?

Having a criminal record may affect your chances of joining the merchant navy as it involves handling sensitive cargo and passengers. However, it is best to check with individual shipping companies for their specific criteria.

4. What is the duration of the training courses for the merchant navy?

The duration of the training courses varies depending on the course and the institution. The deck cadet course is usually for a period of 12-18 months, while the marine engineering course can be for a period of 24-36 months.

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5. What are the career growth opportunities in the merchant navy?

The merchant navy offers many career growth opportunities, such as progressing from a deck cadet to a third officer, second officer, and eventually a captain. Similarly, in the engineering department, one can progress from a trainee engineer to a fourth engineer, third engineer, second engineer, and chief engineer.