Seychelles Maritime Academy and CINEC to continue joint seafarers' programme
The Academy offers cadets certifications across varying levels in Navigation and Seamanship, Fishing Science and Technology and Marine Mechanics. (Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Seychelles' Cabinet of Ministers has approved a one-year-long memorandum of agreement to be signed with Sri Lanka's Colombo International Nautical Engineering College (CINEC) pending the drafting of another revised, more detailed, long-term agreement.
The agreement will allow CINEC and the Seychelles Maritime Academy (SMA) to continue to maintain and enhance the existing framework for academic cooperation to develop the skills of seafarers to meet the requirements of the International Maritime Organisation's (IMO) International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) as well as to develop and maintain their professional standards as required by ship owners.
Seychelles has three partners involved in the agreement - the Ministry of Education, the Seychelles Maritime Academy (SMA) and the Seychelles Petroleum Company (SEYPEC).
The principal secretary for education, John Lesperance outlined on Friday that "without this agreement, it is not possible for our students and workers on Seychelles-owned and international vessels to be recognised and allowed to work on such vessels," and cross the world's oceans.
"The agreement will help us to maintain the white list," Lesperance added.
To make it to the IMO white list, countries have to comply with the STCW, which states the minimum standards that countries are required to meet and exceed when it comes to training, certification, and watch-keeping for seafarers.
The agreement between Seychelles and CINEC was first signed in 2013 and renewed every three years. The last agreement, which expired in December 2022, was extended to cover part of 2023 until another agreement is signed.
"This time around, we are looking at it in a different light as it is of great importance for our students who are trained at SMA. We want to rework the MOA so that in 2024 we will sign a new MOA which will allow for better collaboration between SEYPEC and SMA so that their importance is better outlined in the new MOU," said Lesperance.
"When we work on the MOA, for the new submission to the Cabinet, we realised that there were a lot of areas within the agreement where, as a country, we could have benefitted more. This is why we want to sit together with our partners to have another look. We want a better understanding between the partners involved. One of the points is to bring capacity to the Seychelles Maritime Academy so that eventually we can have highly qualified employees, and eventually replace foreign workers with local ones," he continued.
Students who complete the three-year course with CINEC follow a career with SEYPEC. The company's head of shipping and security, Allain Asba, said that around 90 seafarers have been trained at CINEC since 2013, and most of them are still in employment.
The Academy offers cadets certifications across varying levels in Navigation and Seamanship, Fishing Science and Technology and Marine Mechanics, in addition to several other short courses
"Our turnover is very low. As we want to localise all the positions on our tankers, we make sure that employees are well-paid. We are getting enough students to join the team from SMA but we are also targeting students from A Levels [programme]. We also go to the SIT [Seychelles Institute of Technology] to ensure that we have the right frame of students to get this training," said Asba.