Government has reiterated that it will do all in its power to ensure that seafarers have access to decent and secure working and recreational facilities.

Acting Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Richard Sealy, gave the undertaking to spare no effort in protecting this vital workforce, while addressing the Day of the Seafarer celebrations, last Saturday at the Bay Street Esplanade.

He told his audience that the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 was now in force, and it addressed conditions of employment and the minimum requirements for seafarers to work on ships.

???I cannot over-emphasise the importance of this Convention ??? oftentimes called the Seafarers??? Bill of Rights ??? to the promotion and securing of safe working conditions. Barbados already has in place national laws with respect to crew arrangement, seafarers??? hours of work and rest and repatriation. However, my Ministry is actively reviewing the legislation so as to strengthen the national requirements,??? Mr. Sealy underlined.

Highlighting the importance of seafaring and shipping, the Acting Prime Minister said the industry offered tremendous opportunities for those pursuing careers in these areas, and pointed out that a successful maritime career was achieved through training.

???Our neighbours in Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago offer advanced maritime programmes. Even though Barbados does not currently offer many of these advanced courses, the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic (SJPP) is playing its part by offering Basic Safety Training for maritime operations in accordance with the international standards established by the International Convention on Standards and Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers Convention,??? he added.

Mr. Sealy also disclosed that the Polytechnic, in collaboration with the Caribbean Fisheries Training and Development Institute in Trinidad, will offer basic safety and advanced training to 27 Barbados Port Inc. staff members, and he pledged to assist in their efforts to enhance its maritime programme. During the ceremony, SJPP???s Maritime Operations student, Gershon Shepherd, received an award for his outstanding performance in maritime studies.

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