***Exciting and Challenging Opportunities for Young Bahamians…***

The Bahamas Maritime Authority is once again offering attractive scholarships to young academically sound Bahamians who are keen to train for an exciting and challenging career in the Maritime Industry – which is gaining increasing national importance.

These generous scholarships are inclusive of tuition, fees, course material, accommodations and transportation costs. Commencing in September 2009 successful candidates will follow a 4 year degree programme at the California Maritime Academy, a unique campus of the California State University. Upon completion of the degree, the qualified officers will be expected to serve on board a Bahamian flagged vessel for at least 2 years, providing the solid foundation on which to build their Maritime careers.

Complete applications can be submitted in person or by post – with copies of academic certificates/transcripts and proof of Bahamian citizenship – no later than March 31. Interviews will take place in Nassau during the last week in April.

BMA Chairman Ian Fair spoke to the business development opportunities within the maritime sector at the 2009 Bahamas Financial Services Retreat.

The Bahamas Ship Registry is the third largest registry in the world with more than 1700 vessels and in excess of 52 million gross tons. Currently the Registry has offices/representation in Nassau, New York, London, Greece, Japan and Germany, with plans to open other offices in Europe and in Asia.

The Bahamas Government and BMA believe that the maritime industry continues to present great potential for development locally and internationally. This it says, will be assured by being prepared with the appropriate legislative and administrative framework necessary to properly and adequately monitor and regulate the sector, and by providing state-of-the-art port and maritime support facilities. And, of course, providing the necessary training to build capacity.

The Bahamas Maritime Cadet Corps (BMCC) is a programme of the Bahamas Maritime Authority that seeks to prepare high school students of grades 10 through 12 for employment in the maritime industry. This programme sensitizes students to this vast potential job market and is the initial step in qualifying them for future employment on ocean-going vessels. To date over 244 students have graduated from the BMCC programme, with some 210 of them having attained their Standards of Training and Watchkeeping Certification (STCW), the minimum requirement of the IMO for a career at sea.

Cadets generally pursue further technical marine educational opportunities at the Holland Maritime College, Canada. Others within the industry have pursued university level maritime training at the California Maritime Academy, at the Marine Maritime Academy and at the State University of New York (SUNY) Maritime College in the United States. The Bahamas Ship Owners Association has been a valued partner in the training exercise for Bahamians in the maritime sector.