14 Mar Fisherfolk gain vital seafarer skills
Published by The Star • 14/03/2022
A GROUP of 10 fishermen from south of Penang island are now closer to being certified as seafarers to handle much larger vessels.
After completing the seven-day “Mate Domestic Below 500GT Open” course at Akademi Maritim Penjana Ilmu in Taman Inderawasih and passing the written assessment, they will next advance to an oral test conducted by the Marine Department.
Penang Infrastructure Corporation chief executive officer Datuk Seri Farizan Darus said the group was the first batch to benefit from the seafarer course programme offered as part of the Penang South Island (PSI) project’s Social Impact Management Plan (SIMP).
“The seafarer course was among training programmes offered under the Pelitaku community participation programme.
He added that the state and project delivery partner SRS Consortium were making preparations to organise seafarer courses for the next batch, in addition to other programmes beneficial to the fishing community.
“When the PSI project starts in the second half of the year, more fishermen who registered for the SIMP will have the opportunity to take the seafarer course,” Farizan said after handing out the certificates of participation to the fishermen at the academy.
The course covers chartwork, rules and regulations, meteorology, general ship and engineering knowledge.
The fishermen, upon passing the seafarer course, will be awarded the Certificate of Competence (COC) that gives them the accreditation to work in national waters.
With the COC, they will be able to work on pontoons and ships below 500 gross tonnage, and offer boat transport services for construction workers and tourists to earn additional or alternative income.
Among those in the group was veteran Fajinah Jaafar, 60, who said the course taught her the proper way of operating at sea.
“It broadened my knowledge of ships, including international vessels.
“I did not take the course in the past because of the cost, but I now look forward to more job opportunities to earn a better income with this certificate,” she said.
Fisherman Loo Tang Nee, 42, who is based in Gertak Sanggul said he was glad for the training.
“Before this, we knew nothing about rules and regulations at sea, and I was not aware that there were so many.
“When we worked at sea, we relied only on experience without guidance to operate.
“Now, we know the protocols and how to react when encountering larger ships at sea,” he said.
The state has allocated RM100mil for the SIMP to develop the skills of local fishing community.
The academy’s managing director Nazir Hamzah explained that certified fishermen would experience a major leap in career prospects, as the vessels they would be able to handle would be much larger than what they have been used to.
“Vessels above 500 gross tonnage are large and capable of ferrying many passengers.
“Those who pass will have better career prospects to provide transportation and recreational services within Malaysian coastal waters.
“At present, between 300 to 400 people in Penang hold such certificates and most of them are employed by large shipping operators or own their own business,” he said.
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