Date of Award
Master of Science in Maritime Affairs
Maritime Education & Training
Walen, Hans van
This paper is specifically directed towards the establishment of a Maritime Training Centre in Sierra Leone for the training of ratings and port marine and engineering personnel in accordance with the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978. It is also anticipated that spare capacity and future expansion would facilitate training of oil terminal employees, operators of ferries, coastal and fishing vessels personnel in the offshore industry and other personnel in the marine related industry. The proposed establishment of a Maritime Training Centre is not one of prestige, but of economic and training necessity. While regional maritime academies are laudable, they are basically meant for officers and not ratings. The training of engine and deck ratings should be given great attention. It is my veiw that it will be futile to concentrate solely on the training and upgrading of officers alone with little attention to the training of ratings. Ratings play an equally important role as the officers in the efficient and safe operation of ships. Futhermore the cost of training ratings abroad with the problem of scarce foreign exchange is not attractive even when the cost of training is met under United Nations Development Programme (U.N.D.P.) country programme funds. Governments of developing countries don't think the cost involved is justified when there are other areas of national development requiring urgent attention and scarce foreign exchange expenditure e.g food, medicine, healthcare, general education, education in medicine and dentistry etc. This however does not exempt the governments from it's obligations as a coastal state and a member of the International Maritime Organisation (I.M.O.) from maritime education and training, nor to abandon the mass of Sierra Leonean seamen who by virtue of new regulations have found it impossible to maintain their jobs on foreigngoing merchant ships. The entire maritime industry is going through a new technological era. This fact has to be taken seriously, so much so by developing countries. Appropiate training is the only key left if our seafarers are to compete and secure jobs and catch up on advancing technology.