NLNG Ship Management Ltd (NSML) completed its ‘Nigerianisation’ process in 2022 and is now turning to upskill its seafarers as the industry transitions to a greener environment.

NSML chief executive and managing director Abdulkadir K Ahmed said today the company’s top management and fleet management team is 100% Nigerian.

On its vessels, the target was to have 85% Nigerian seafarers, which it has reached. But Ahmed said the company is international and wants to keep a diverse workforce at sea.

Ahmed, who worked on the commercial side for NLNG and has been within the group for 25 years, before taking the helm at NSML, said the company has over 600 seafarers on its books and a “fully fledged” marine training centre in Bonny.

The company is still working towards having its first female captain and is doing slightly above the industry average on female seafarers and has a large pool of cadets coming through.

He highlighted the ongoing concerns about the shortages of seafarers, industry growth and the changes in technology. “Ultimately, people will play a critical role,” he said.

But Ahmed is keen to stress the importance of NSML, which is the technical ship management arm of West African producer Nigeria LNG (NLNG), focusing on its people and what it needs to do to future-proof them for the roles they need to play within a greener shipping environment.

LNG has now developed into a globalised flexible industry. As a service provider, he said: “We need to enable, and we can’t be rigid in that respect.”

NLNG will remain the company’s core customer, but Ahmed said the company is making some progress on expanding within the Nigerian and West African maritime sectors.

He said the technical ship manager has also evolved into an integrated marine services company and is looking to grow beyond ship management into terminals, marine projects and offshore sectors.