Junior Marine Engineer,Wilmer Abram (left) showing Officer-in-charge of Engineering Watch Phase 1, Asha Beckles and her colleagues some of the equipment on board the Barbados 2.?? (C.Pitt/BGIS)

Efforts are underway to address the needs of students and other persons interested in pursuing careers in the maritime sector.

During a meeting with Principal of the Caribbean Maritime Institute (CMI), Fitz Pinnock, and officials from the Barbados Port Inc., Minister of International Business and International Transport, George Hutson, disclosed that his Ministry was currently working on developing National Development Scholarships for those interested in careers in the aviation and maritime sectors.

Mr. Hutson said there was an estimated 30, 000 jobs available internationally for shipping officers, with employees at the entry level receiving a salary of US$6,000.

He also revealed that his Ministry was hoping to work with the Ministry of Education in the future to address the needs of students interested in the maritime sector as a career.

However, he noted that it was important for the demand to be there for existing institutions to include such programmes in their curricula. "Right now very few are interested and the institutions will not develop a comprehensive programme to deal with it now, but once the demand is there they [the institution] will have to follow," he said.

Meanwhile, Mr. Hutson said his Ministry, the Barbados Port Inc. and the Shipping Association of Barbados (SAB), had embarked on a capacity building programme to train seafarers to fill vacancies that would arise through attrition and the likely retirement of stalwarts in the sector within another five to ten years.

That capacity building programme started with the recruitment of 24 young people, from which six candidates were selected for scholarships sponsored by the Barbados Port Inc. to pursue programmes at the CMI in the areas of Navigation Watch and Engineering Watch.

However, Mr. Hutson pointed out that there were also potential employment opportunities in the Marine Services Department of the Port in the areas of piloting, tug boat operations, and marine engineering. Opportunities also exist in the fields of ship surveying and inspection, port state control and for officers of shipping vessels and land-based entities.

The Minister said the Barbados Port Inc. and the SAB had also engaged the CMI to deliver several training courses in the area of port operations.

These courses include Stevedoring Operations (Master Stevedores) Level 3, which saw employees from the SAB and the Port being trained in procedures for safe operations onboard vessels; ship layout and cargo planning for loading and discharging cargo operations; and the correct use of lifting gear and other equipment.

In addition, eight crane operators were trained in Gantry and Mobile Crane Simulation and were taught how to competently and safely perform the tasks of lifting and loading containers from cargo ships to shore, and from shore to ship.

Meanwhile, 16 employees from the mooring gang and deck crew completed basic training in deck, boat and marlinspike seamanship.

Mr. Hutson added that within another two weeks, 20 persons from the Docker complement at the Port would also participate in a four-month competency-based programme, which would include training in occupational health and safety procedures; lifting and handling operations; securing and storing cargo; and loading and transferring cargo.

Successful participants of this programme will be awarded by the CMI and the TVET Council in Barbados.


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