The $25 million maritime training academy being launched by [Campbell Shipping]( is expected to be up and running by September 2014, and should make major inroads into creating maritime career opportunities for young Bahamians. This, according to Dr. Brendamae Cleare, President of the Lowell J. Mortimer (LJM) Maritime Academy scheduled to be opened on Crystal Cay.

It is anticipated that the one-of-a-kind Academy initially will take on 50-55 students in a work study programme, growing eventually to 110 students at any one time. After the first year the students will actually go to sea – an immediate entry into the workforce.

There will be three buildings, and state-of-the-art simulators, including a maritime fire training simulator. “All of the classrooms are going to be high tech and we’re looking at an e-library as well,” said Dr. Cleare.

With 1,600 ships on its books and gross registered tonnage exceeding 57 million, The Bahamas currently ranks as the world’s fifth largest shipping registry. The Bahamas Maritime Authority (BMA) recently completed a business development mission to Brazil, and is looking now at Japan and Korea – with the end objective of expanding the registry. Chairman Anthony Kikivarakis asserts that the BMA’s aim is to get newer ships, bigger ships, oil rigs and tankers as well – but all “quality” rather than simply going for the numbers.

Campbell Shipping launched the LJM Maritime Academy last year as a non-profit initiative, with the funding coming from its group of companies. At that time, Managing Director Chandler B.T. Sands said the underlying idea of the institute is to promote “national development” in The Bahamas. The goal is to attract young Bahamians between the ages of 18 and 35, and students initially will come from the Bahamas Maritime Cadet Corps, although the Academy also will be open to public entrants.