Earlier this year, the Ministry of Transport and Bahamas Maritime Authority introduced a Bahamas Maritime Cadet Corps (BMCC) programme within the secondary schools in The Bahamas. Specifically, the BMCC aims to sensitise and prepare students in Grades 10-12 for careers in the maritime industry.
Classes are held each Tuesday and Thursday, 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. at the C.R Walker High School, conducted by retired and active Royal Bahamas Defence Force Officers and Personnel. Currently, there are 117 students enrolled, representing 12 high schools. The curriculum includes navigation, seamanship, rules of the road, and vessel husbandry, with a mandatory attendance and completion by the 12th graders of a Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) programme, per IMO Convention requirements on maritime safety.
Co-ordinator of the programme is Dudley Martinborough. He says the programme is essential to ensure that *”young men and women are prepared for employment as qualified ocean going seamen on vessels registered under the Bahamian Flag”*. The programme aims to upgrade the crew qualifications on The Bahamas’ domestic fleet as well.
The Bahamas, the world’s third largest “Flag State”, maintains over 1400 ships on its Ship Register, totalling in excess of 35 million gross tons. The Bahamas Maritime Authority has offices in Nassau, London and New York. The ongoing policy for the Authority in terms of sector development has been “growth with quality” — demonstrated by the number of high quality owners now using the Register. The success of the registry also is attributed to many of the factors that have positioned The Bahamas as a leading financial services centre: a progressive legislative and judicial system, political stability, neutral tax regime, and competitive fees.
The Maritime Cadet Programme is supported by the London-based Bahamas Shipowners Association.
*(Note: The BMA will be participating in next week’s Posidonia International Shipping Exhibition in Piraeus, Greece. Posidonia is described as the largest commercial event in the shipping calendar, located at the heart of shipping)*