6 new marine academies to be openedMd Owasim Uddin Bhuyan
With potential opportunities opening up for merchant mariners, the government has taken a project to set up six new marine academies in the country to groom young people taking up the challenging jobs at sea.
Besides the government run Marine Academy in Chittagong, 13 private marine academies are providing pre-sea and at- sea training to the country’s merchant marine cadets, officials said.
They said the government would open four of the new marine academies by 2013, one each at Barisal, Pabna, Rangpur and Sylhet.
Speaking at a function at the United Maritime Academy as the chief guest on Saturday Navy chief vice admiral Zahir Uddin Ahmed, said Bangladesh could provide trained young mariners to meet a huge shortage of marine officers facing the world.
With cooperation from the Scottish Qualification Authority, United Maritime Academy has been providing higher national diploma to Bangladeshi cadets on completion of professional training.
Zahir Uddin termed the offer of higher diploma from the Scottish Qualification Authority as a step forward for the Bangladeshi marine cadets.
UMA commandant Bazlur Rahman said many brave youngsters from Bangladesh, a recognized seafaring nation, were signing up to avail the trend setting training opportunities offered by UMA.
He said though many Bangladeshi mariners reached the peak of their professional career, Bangladesh’s participation in global seafaring, estimated at not more than one per cent, continued to be very meager.
A former director general of shipping Bazlur Rahman said when countries like the Philippines, China and India flooded the challenging profession by opening hundreds of government and private academies, Bangladesh kept on shying away from seizing the opportunities offered by the outside world.
According to the Department of Shipping, only state-run Chittagong marine academy admits students through highly competitive admission tests offering a two-year pre-sea plus one year’s practical training at sea to merchant marine cadets.
Shipping Department director general Jobair Ahmed told New Age that there was a big demand for mariners in the world.
He said during training at sea a cadet would get US $ 500 per month to meet his expenses.
On completion of training, a marine officer is entitled to get a monthly pay ranging from US $2,000 to 12,000, he said.
And the minimum monthly pay of deck and engine room rating, as deck and engine-room workers, responsible for maintaining exterior of the ship, are called, is about 1,000 $, he said.
A saloon sailor also gets about US $ 1,000, he said.
Jobair said two committees of the Department of Shipping supervised private marine academies to ensure their quality and standard of training.
Jobair said the government had allowed opening of private marine academies on the condition that they would ensure employment of their cadets on completion of training.
For any violation of condition, the government would cancel the registration of an academy and sue it, said DG shipping.
He said India, with its 320 marine academies and the Philippines with 150, were dominating the global job market for mariners.
Each year, 300 merchant navy cadets pass out from the Chittagong Marine Academy and 100 cadets from the International Maritime Academy, Shipping Department chief engineer and ship surveyor SM Nazmul Huq told New Age.
In two years from 2013, he said, between 1,000 and 1,200 merchant marine cadets would be passing out from Bangladesh’s 13 private marine academies.
The existing private marine academies in the country include, Bangladesh Maritime Training Institute, International Maritime Academy, MAS Maritime Academy, Shah Marine and Business Institute, Academy of Marine Education and Technology, Bay-maritime Training Center, West-way Martine Academy, United Maritime Academy, Atlantic Maritime Academy, Ocean Maritime Academy, Marine Point Limited, Cambridge Maritime College and Marine Academy.
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