Sam Jabbah Becomes Rising Star In The Maritime Sector


As Liberia’s trade relations with the international market expands, there will be the need for a corresponding expansion in expertise to man the sector. The Freeport of Monrovia, which is the heartbeat of the Liberian economy, is the major trade infrastructure serving as the conduit for the import of critical goods and the export of commodities to other markets. Just like any industry, critical human resource at the Freeport of Monrovia will need continued professional development to be able to meet up to global standards, and it is the reason the story of one of Liberia’s fast rising Maritime stars, Sam Jabbah, is a shining example for the sector.

   From Sailor to a Marine Services Coordinator and soon-to-be fully qualified Marine Pilot at the Freeport of Monrovia, Sam Jabbah’s dream of impacting his country’s Marine sector is on course, all thanks to APM Terminals Liberia for its desire to fully implement a Marine Pilot “Liberianization” program.

   Sam is the first Liberian undergoing training to become a trained Marine Pilot at the Freeport of Monrovia. He started his career as an Ordinary Seaman (OS) before becoming a Deck Officer, handling vessels at the Freeport of Monrovia.  His exceptional leadership was soon felt as a Marine Pilot Trainee. He displayed excellence and championed policy implementation in the areas of navigation and safety at APM through coaching and training of co-workers which helped to improve their skills and wellbeing.

   Sam is an internationally trained Marine professional having attended the South African Maritime Training Academy in Cape Town, the Maritime Professional Training in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the Falck Safety Services in Houston, Texas and the Canarian School of Navigation and Maritime Safety in Tenerife, Spain.

   He recently completed a program in Nautical Science at the Regional Maritime University in Ghana and obtained a Certificate of Competency (CoC) as an Officer in Charge of a Navigational Watch from the Ghana Maritime Authority.

   According to Officer Jabbah, the course exposed him to improved safety methods and precautionary measures that are sometimes overlooked during sea navigation.

   Since 2018, Sam has been leading and managing a larger group of Liberians which includes the Tugboat Boat and Pilot boat crew, the Mooring team, and other external marine contractors managing marine operations at the Freeport of Monrovia.

   He is responsible for planning of marine movements to optimize berth utilization and safe handling of vessels in close collaboration with local, regional and national government regulatory agencies. In addition, his work involves assisting with the safe and orderly flow of vessel traffic through port approaches and harbors. The key to his leadership success, according to him, is that he is a team player who cares about his people.

   “I’m a leader that always think about my people before myself,” he said in an interview.

   For the next phase of APM Terminals Liberia’s strategic growth, the company is focused on taking the transformation of its human resource to a new dimension. It is implementing the “Leaders of the Future” program; a special initiative which utilizes global resources within the Maersk group to develop the leadership skills of its leaders. An aspect of this initiative is the Marine Pilot “Liberianization” program, which is purposely designed to sustain human resource capacity within the pilotage and marine sector of Liberia so that those sectors are managed solely by Liberians in the near future.

   As a beneficiary of this initiative, Sam hopes to use his knowledge to improve his leadership in his new role as a Marine Pilot Trainee and to impact positively on the Liberia Maritime sector.

   Officer Jabbah believes that the Liberian Maritime industry has well positioned itself in the Mano River hub and has enormous prospects. He believes that it is important for the industry to further position itself globally through knowledge and technology.

   He identified a number of challenges, including the inadequate navigational equipment as well as the poor safety measures, as major issues facing the sector. He explained that the solution lies with advanced blue ocean (seagoing trade) and empowering of local content, insisting on the use of indigenous people who would be passionate about their country and its development.

   “…The whole purpose of my training is so that we as Liberians will become competent enough to manage our own sector. We don’t have to go out looking for people to come and run our industry or our country’s marine operations,” he continued.

   On a recent courtesy visit to the Liberian Maritime Authority, the Commissioner of the Authority, Lenn Eugene Nagbe, lauded Jabbah for being an inspiration to future generations of Maritime professionals and for aspiring for further knowledge and skills acquisition. He in turn thanked the Commissioner for taking an interest in his career and that of many others and for the work he is doing in uplifting Maritime operations in Liberia.

   Next, he will be pursuing a Certificate of Competency as Master/Captain, Near Coastal from the Regional Maritime University and the Ghana Maritime Authority.

   Quite clearly, his dream of being a master Marine Pilot of international acclaim is firmly within grasp.

   Indeed Sam’s story is an inspiration to Liberians who may in the near future have the full capacity and assume responsibility to manage the Maritime Industry of Liberia through APM Terminals Liberia Marine Pilot ‘’Liberianization” program with Sam as the very first beneficiary.

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