The Grand Bahama Port Authority’s (GBPA) chairman has told 39 graduates from the Maritime Cadet Corps programme that they are entering one of the world’s growing industries.
“You are entering an industry that is vibrant, active and growing despite a global recession,” said Ian Fair, also a past Bahamas Maritime Authority (BMA) chairman.
Addressing the largest group of Maritime Cadet Corps participants to graduate on Grand Bahama to date, he added: “Unlike many fields that are downsizing, the maritime sector offers so many different job careers for you to choose from.”
The Bahamas Maritime Cadet Corps (BMCC) was formed in 2004, and spread to Grand Bahama in March 2009. The programme gives secondary school students an opportunity to receive skills training in different areas of the maritime industry.
Speaking to this year’s 39 graduates, Mr Fair said: “Over the course of your studies, you could have fallen victim to any numerous distractions.
“However, despite current social trends and negative influences which permeate our society, like true seafarers, each of you have ‘stayed the course’. My advice to you is to never stop learning; it should be a lifetime of commitment.”
Drawing on his experience as a past BMA chairman, he described the maritime industry as one of the three most important cornerstones of the Bahamas’ future development.
“Over 90 per cent of the world’s trade goes by ship, and we have an ever-increasing amount of global trade and interaction between countries, which is unlikely to change in the next 100 years,” said Mr Fair.
“The international shipping industry, which is only one component of the maritime sector, employs some 1.25 million seafarers worldwide. As the world’s fifth largest shipping registry, thousands of these persons are attached to vessels that sail under the Bahamian flag.”
Mr Fair encouraged his listeners to take advantage of job opportunities in ship registries, shipping, general maritime services, the Freeport Container Port, the Grand Bahama Shipyard, various yacht service centres, the Port Department, the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, the fishing industry, maritime leisure and sport fishing business.
“Yes, there is a meaningful and lucrative career available for you,” he added.
BMCC programme director, Clayton Curtis, invited the students to emulate former cadets such as Leo Hudson, a former deputy head boy at Jack Hayward High School, who recently graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Marine Transportation from State University of New York (S.U.N.Y.) Maritime College. He now has an unlimited ocean going third mate’s licence.
And 2011 BMCC cadet, Donavin Rohs, achieved the highest score ever at Holland College on a Transport Canada examination, while Trent Williams remains on the Admiral’s List since entering S.U.N.Y. and shifting from Naval Architecture to a Marine Engineering major.
Graduates were brought up to date on current accessibility to specialised training in the Bahamas, including the Maritime Studies Baccalaureate degree programme available at the College of the Bahamas.
Mr Fair also mentioned Campbell Shipping’s $25 million maritime academy in Nassau, which expects to begin its work study programme for international maritime certification in 2014.
“The Bahamas Maritime Authority is focused on attracting quality and newer vessels to this nation’s shipping registry. Quality service requires qualified workers. Therefore, I encourage you to take advantage of the excellent opportunities afforded you through your participation in the Maritime Cadet Corps, and thereby position yourself to compete in this worldwide market, which is open to you,” said Mr Fair.
“The Grand Bahama Port Authority wishes you smooth sailing and calm seas as you embark upon the next stage of your life’s journey.”