The Ministry of Transport and Works, in association with the various local and international shipping industry partners, celebrates Maritime Awareness Week 2010, from September 19 to 24, under the theme “2010: Year of the Seafarer.” The theme was chosen to allow the maritime community to pay tribute to seafarers for their unique contribution to society, and in recognition of the vital part they play in the facilitation of local and global trade. This year’s Maritime Awareness Week is also set to be an important one for the seafaring profession, following a diplomatic conference meeting in Manila in June this year to adopt amendments that will bring the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (the STCW Convention), and its associated Code, fully up to date with today’s expectations.

Director General at the Maritime Authority of Jamaica, Rear Admiral Peter Brady, while acknowledging the technological advancements that have taken place over the years, challenged seafarers and trainers to keep pace with the various changes and advancements. “Shipping is a very dynamic industry and, over the years, with technological advancement driven by competition, it has seen the growth of bigger ships with more complex technology. As such, those responsible for the training of seafarers know their knowledge and competence must keep pace with these advancements.” He said that it was an awareness of shipping’s dynamic nature that a call was made at the International Maritime Organization for the revision of the standards by which seafarers are trained.

Real Admiral Brady explained that the improved standards are geared towards empowering maritime workers to be better able to handle challenging situations, as well as to readily adapt to the dynamic nature of the industry. “A number of critical changes related to training in modern shipboard technology and improvements on the provisions for seafarers’ welfare in areas such as hours of work and rest; updated standards relating to medical fitness; training in leadership and teamwork; as well as provisions to ensure that seafarers are properly trained to cope in the event of attack by pirates”.

With the improved capacity of the seafarers, the Caribbean Maritime Institute (CMI) is charged with the responsibility of producing capable and well-trained graduates. 

Executive Director at the Institute, Fritz Pinnock, assured that the CMI prides itself in providing industry-ready, disciplined graduates through the expansion of partnerships with shipping lines globally. He said that despite the challenging economic climate, the Institute managed to enjoy 100 per cent placement of graduates last year, while managing to increase its enrolment by over 70 per cent this year.

The Maritime Week of Activities includes a Church Service, Regatta, an Open Day at the Caribbean Maritime Institute and a Guidance Counsellors’ Symposium.