Jamaica News: The Maritime Authority of Jamaica (MAJ) is welcoming the thrust of the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) towards industry-led maritime education and training.
Speaking at a JIS ‘Think Tank’, today (September 25), to discuss activities for World Maritime Week, MAJ Director General, Rear Admiral Peter Brady, said the approach is particularly important as shipping technology changes.
“The shipping industry now has very advanced vessels. For example, there is now the mandatory inclusion of an Electro-Technical Officer (ETO) or Electrical Officer on board some vessels,” Mr. Brady said.
The ETO is a licensed member of the engine department of a merchant ship as per Section A-III/6 of the International Convention of Standards and Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) Code, and is the most vital in the technical hierarchy of modern advanced ships with automated and conventional electrical and electronic systems.
The Director General said this is necessary because the average marine engineer could not cope with the advanced electronics with which modern ships are equipped.
“You could look, for example, at communications. All communications that you enjoy ashore can be enjoyed at sea, but it takes a little bit more to ensure that it is done and kept as efficiently,” he said.
“The communication is sustained over a long period of time because as you may realise, the marine environment is very rough. It can be very hostile because of the content of salt in the atmosphere and, therefore, our equipment has to be maintained more frequently,” Mr. Brady added.
The Director General pointed out that the expertise required involves dealing with offshore communications systems and satellite communications systems.
“We even have communications systems for the controls on the ship itself from ashore, thousands of miles away that have revolutionised shipping completely.This means that while you still have to train people to work at sea, you’ll have fewer people on board the ship and more people ashore tending to the ship remotely,” he said.
This, he argued, is the future of shipping, and that is what persons in the industry have to be trained to do.
The Director General said the technology is now so far advanced that “we have to equip our people to be competent as opposed to just learned or educated”.
“You must be able to apply the knowledge that you learn to whatsoever you are doing at sea, so the addition of the Festo Lab at the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU), the technological advances that they have there and the emphasis that’s being placed on industry is not only critical to the maritime sector but also timely and visionary,” he said.
On September 19, the CMU officially opened the world’s largest Festo Authorised and Certified Training (FACT) Centre at its Palisadoes Park Campus, aimed at bringing a responsive approach to industry needs.
World Maritime Week is being observed from September 23 to 28.
Source: JIS News