The future is bright for nearly three dozen young people under the age of 30 who have been trained and certified as multipurpose ratings for the international shipping job market. The group graduated on Friday, July 27, 2018, after three months of rigorous training at the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) and are already being placed in jobs at an international shipping company – one of the world’s largest carriers of fuel and chemicals in both their liquefied and gaseous states – EXMAR.
As ratings or rates, they are equipped to assist in tasks that can arise during a voyage. These tasks include assisting in anchoring, cleaning and overall maintenance of a ship, and repairing broken lines and ropes. These are critical activities that ensure the overall smooth operation of the vessel and require skilled personnel.
Guest speaker at the graduation, CMU Vice-President of University Advancement and Development Eron Mclean noted that this was just the beginning as several other sets of students would be recruited and trained to meet the growing needs of the company, which is increasing its fleet of ships and will require more trained seafarers.
For decades, the CMU (previously Jamaica Maritime Institute, the Caribbean Maritime Institute) has certified hundreds of officers, management level merchant mariners, and able-bodied seamen through its Faculty of Marine and Nautical Studies (FMNS). Now it is engaging its Faculty of Advanced Skills and Professional Development to reach unattached youth and is partnering with shipping lines to ensure that opportunities at sea are made available to these young people, who will take up jobs at other levels in the industry.
This multipurpose rating programme was designed by the FMNS, headed by Associate Vice-President Captain Jhonny Pretell, who also designed the current seafaring bachelor degree programme, which is known for its high level of discipline. Captain Pretell noted that “we don’t instil discipline in the literal sense. We design the training in a strategic way to inculcate a sense of integrity, respect, and responsibility in the students. Once they learn the importance of these three principles, discipline comes naturally”. He added that these were principles that would serve them well at sea.
According to CMU President, Professor Fritz Pinnock, this is a significant development in the lives of the graduates, who entered the programme with under five CSEC subjects and who will now have the opportunity to earn up to USD$1,500.00 as a monthly salary. This, he noted, “is changing the lives of young Jamaicans” who will gain exposure and experience all over the world as global citizens within the international shipping community.