We‘ll soon come out in a bang to announce our presence –Marine Surveyors

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Prince Adebanbo Ademiluyi is the President and Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Centre for Marine Surveyors Nigeria. He opened up to newsmen on the activities of the Centre, their programmes for the remaining part of the year and other Germaine issues relating to Marine environment. Our correspondent was there at the parley and now reports;

Can we meet you Sir?

My name is Prince Adebanbo Ademiluyi. I am the President and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Centre for Marine Surveyors Nigeria. But apart from that, I am the Managing Director of Quaint Agencies. We carry out Marine Survey and we also do a lot of engineering works especially projects, gas projects, build plants, we have done lubricant plants, we have done other things too.

Basically, I am an Engineer, I have applied my engineering skills to various challenges that I came across. I went to school in Nigeria, University of Ife, Bachelor’s in Agric Engineering and a Master’s Business Administration from Unilorin. I went to King’s College Lagos and I have worked mostly, infact, virtually all my working experiences was with Multinational companies before I started Quaint Oil in 1996. Quaint Oil gave birth to Quaint Agencies. But Quaint Oil still exist presently we just do Gas Marketing through our outlets.

What is Centre for Marine Surveyors all about?

The Centre for Marine Surveyors Nigeria was borne out of the need to bring Marine Surveyors together, to have a platform for advocacy of Marine Surveyors, a platform for advocacy with government, with regulatory agencies and with the industry. And also to have self regulation because we found out that there are so many people who parade themselves as Marine Surveyors yet they can best be described as quacks because they lack the requisite qualifications to even understand what Marine Survey is. So, but they pretend to be Marine Surveyors, carry out the activities of Marine Surveyors in a very shoddy manner and people get their fingers burnt by patronizing them before they realize that they don’t know what they are talking about because there is no way you can find out from a man’s face whether he really knows the engineering of marine survey or not or whether he is part of Marine Surveyors or not until he gives you a report on a survey work that he has done.

So, those two reasons, primarily, to have a platform for advocacy and to regulate ourselves to ensure that people who call themselves Marine Surveyors are people who are properly fit to be Marine surveyors. These two reasons are the main reasons why we came together to form the Centre for Marine Surveyors Nigeria.

In order words, this Centre is supposed to be a regulatory body for all those practicing Marine Surveying in Nigeria?

Self regulation, Yes! We are building it to become a regulatory agency for Marine Surveyors in Nigeria because our ultimate aim is to get an Act of Parliament to support our initiative so that we can become like ICAN, like the Nigerian Institute of Architects, like the Nigerian Society of Engineers. So, if you have to practice as a marine surveyor, then you probably needs to go through some certification of the institute for instance, of Marine Surveyors of Nigeria and that is when we get that kind of recognition but for now we don’t have that. We can still regulate ourselves because presently we are coming up with the codes and procedures for practice for Marine Surveyors which will cut across all cadres of Marine Surveyors and as a member, if you sign to that code of conduct, we could call you to order and if your colleagues on the field call you to order and infact, make it known to the industry that this our colleague has done things that are untoward and he is not ready to change, I don’t think the industry will touch you.

So, amongst ourselves, we can regulate ourselves to a large extent but the ultimate regulation is when we have authority and recognition from government to regulate the practice of Marine Surveyors in Nigeria.

Are you saying that this is the only body for Marine Surveyors in Nigeria or is there any other competing body in Nigeria as far as Marine surveying profession is concerned?

I don’t know of any that encompasses all areas of marine surveys, that has room for all marine surveyors in the country. I don’t know of any. There is a group of marine surveyors that is registered and they are doing very well, we have a lot of respect for them but they only admit insurance brokers. They are more or less like insurance brokers, insurance practitioners and underwriters.

If any of them still wants to join our own, he is very welcomed because our scope covers them but we cannot join them because we don’t even understand what their insurance rule and regulations have been. So, they are there, they are very respectable group, we know them, they are our friends. However, we cannot say that their group is open to all. We cannot join them but they can join us. A member of Guild of Marine Surveyors who is an insurance practitioners can join the Centre for Marine Surveyors Nigeria because ours is a broader platform.

What in real term are Marine Surveyors doing in the maritime industry? In order words, explain the work of a Marine surveyor to a layman.

A marine surveyor brings about integrity to whichever environment he is called to operate in and basically, he provides control service. Control in the sense that there is operation going on and there is a process for carrying out that operation. A marine surveyor is called usually to ensure that process is followed. So, he provides integrity for processes to happen.

A marine surveyor also provides integrity for equipment, procurement, equipment use, provides integrity for use of facilities, vessels, even the sea, where to put the project or not, what is that place like? What are the activities you intend to engender and you know if you tell a lie in your report, you have just made somebody invest in something that will not work and that is where integrity comes in. if a marine surveyor does not do his work, it will lead to losses and that is why we say that marine surveyors are integrity providers. He provides integrity to any process that they are involved in.

How long has your Centre been in existence?

Four years now, 2011. Yes, we started in 2011 but we were registered in 2012.

What is the awareness like in the industry?               

The awareness is not there, yes and that was deliberate because we wanted to ensure that the indigenous practitioners that have that integrity that we are supposed to be about are the ones that we can start with so that we can build a foundation that is unshakeable by quacks who may want to infiltrate, who will definitely want to infiltrate our ranks because by the time we now come out, the quacks will of course become jittery and they will either want to infiltrate or compete by forming other organizations.

But when you have a solid people who the industry says, oh! Is it this and that company? No problem about them. If we have solid people beginning a process like this, it sells a lot of comfort to the industry and that was why we did not throw it open until just this year. We wanted to be sure we had our constitution, that we tidied up, we want to be sure that we are registered, we wanted to be sure we even have international affiliation with very credible organizations. For instance, we are affiliated to the International Institute of Marine Surveyors with the headquarters in the United Kingdom. A number of our members are already members of that and we are looking forward to them making Nigeria a branch of the International Institute of Marine Surveyors for Africa.

So, that was the kind of things we were looking for before coming out to the open. So, quite a number of us will be going for a World Congress of the International Institute of Marine Surveyors in September, that month, we will be there and I believe that by God’s grace that by November, we probably will get the status that we are looking for, if not by November/December, at the last quarter when they have the last quarter Board Meeting, I am sure we will get it sometime in 2016.

What is the difference between a Marine Surveyor and a Cargo Surveyor? Is there any correlation between the two or are they two worlds apart?

A cargo surveyor is a marine surveyor. Let me put it this way, a cargo survey superintends over cargoes in marine environment and on land. A cargo surveyor, when a ship brings rice, the ship is a marine tool, so the cargo surveyor superintends over that rice, the quality and the quantity between the vessel and the shore land, then the shore tank or store. Same thing with the petroleum products, petroleum products surveyors are cargo surveyors too because where the cargo is rice in MT Chukwuma, the cargo is diesel in MT Segun but a cargo is a cargo, petroleum product is a cargo and it is on a ship.

So, a surveyor that superintends over rice, is a cargo surveyor, if he superintends over petroleum products, he is a cargo surveyor, vegetable oil, all goods that moves from ships to land are superintended over by cargo surveyors.

What is the difference between a marine surveyor, a Marine engineer and Naval Architect? Are they doing the same thing?

Yes! All these disciplines that you mentioned, Marine Engineers, Naval Architects are all possible surveyors because they have skills that can provide integrity for processes. For instance, a Naval Architect can superintend over the building of a ship. You want to build a ship, the Naval Architect designs it, Engineers build it but you need another Naval Architect to ensure that that design is build according to the specifications of the designer. That Architect that superintends over it, the Architectural world will call him project Manager but we will call him a surveyor because he is measuring survey, he is measuring a process to ensure that it meets with the standard that are supposed to be.

You had a programme lately at Idowu Taylor, what is the programme all about?

At the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, yes, but that was the first time we were coming out in public and we had an induction of our new members and we also seized the opportunity to swear in our Trustees for the first time to put us on legal footing in terms of our constitution and our registration.

So, that was the event. It was a very small event; however, we want to build on that. So, that event was mainly for induction and swearing in of our Trustees. That was last week.

Outside that event, what other events do you line up for the remaining part of this year?

We are going to have a workshop on our code of ethics and practice for Marine Surveyors. We have a workshop on that before the end of the year. We will have two trainings programmes before the end of the year and also we will have our Annual General Meeting and public lecture in November by God’s grace. That is where we now come out in a bang so that we can announce our presence.

We are hoping that our public lectures will be given by one of our international associates who will be addressing a topical issue in Marine Survey at that event.

Who are you expecting at that event?

Well, we certainly will be expecting people from the International Institute of Marine Surveyors, certainly we expect our brothers from the Guild of Marine Surveyor, the insurance people, we certainly will be expecting ship owners, bankers, the oil marketing companies, the big time commodity importers. Those are the kind of people we expect at that kind of Public Lecture because these are the people, anybody that is importing or superintending over importers like the Shippers’ Council, like NIMASA, DPR. Those are the kind of people that will be present at the event.

We already had a road show to all of them. We have gone to DPR, we have gone to NIMASA, we have gone to Nigerian Content Development Board in Yenegoa, we have gone to NAPPIMS, we have gone all over, PPMC, all the agencies of government that has relationships with us, Shippers’ Council, all of them, they are aware of our existence.

But this event like I said was a small event, we didn’t really expand it. But beyond now, we will be ready to come out in the open.

What is your membership strength like?

At the last induction, we inducted thirty-six full members, that is graduate of engineering or marine certificates that are equivalent to Bachelor’s and they have a minimum of five years post qualification experience. We also have some associates who are graduates but not up to five years, we inducted about sixteen of those. Then we inducted about thirteen corporate members. Corporate members are companies practicing in the marine survey practice or have relationship, for instance, a bank can be our member because they fund us, they fund our customers, the people who are importing goods and so on and so forth. The marketing companies, petroleum product marketing companies are our members because they use our services, ship owners who own fleets of these vessels can be our members because they use our services to do their hull survey, engine survey, cargo survey and all that.

So, they are our prospective members, now we are going to throw our memberships open and like we said at our induction ceremony, we will have a very careful screening exercise to ensure that we are not infiltrated by people who are not up to steam or up to specification in terms of our constitution.

What are your challenges?

Challenges in terms of expectations for growth, there is none. Our initial challenge now of course is finance because for the kind of things we want to do, we want to reach out people, do a lot more networking and that of course costs money. For instance, we will all go for the World Congress, if we are a big organization we will say, oh okay, let us sponsor three or four with a thousand pound each, with a thousand pound each for four, that is two million, that is more money to some groups but for us, we can’t. So, anybody that is going will be funding himself.

So, we want to get to that level where we have enough money in our pool to fund our activities, train, subsidize even trainings of our members. A training that is worth twenty thousand dollars, we offer it at ten thousand dollars and pay the balance for our members to acquire the skills that they require to better their performance.

How do you intend to generate fund?       

We are going to set up a funding sustainability committee, that is what the Board of Trustees decided, to look at ways of coming up with fund required for activities especially training. Initially, what we intended doing was to partner with our individual members to provide such trainings.

Eventually we are looking at where we have training institutes and members calling on their associates and all that will pull fund to do all these things and of course, we expect support from government if we are visible enough and what we are doing is credible and useful, it is not out of place for federal government to support us but we are not known. But by the time we come out in the open and we are known, we can have support from government, we can have support from the corporate world as a corporate social responsibility because if for instance a group of banks or MOMAN –Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria says hei, here is so much, use it specifically for training of surveyors, that training will impact on their business on the long run because they will have better qualified surveyors superintend over their projects.

So, we intend to go along that line to appeal to the conscience of our customers, our associates as financiers to ensure that our activities are carried out.

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