10 Jun Penang fishermen become seafarers under new training scheme
Published by The Vibes • 10/06/2022 • 07:00 am
GEORGE TOWN – Nine fishermen have completed a seafarer’s course under a social impact management plan scheme organised by the Penang government and the developer of the Penang South Islands (PSI) project.
Having obtained their seafarer licences and completed a domestic mate course (for less than 500 gross tonnage), the fishermen are now qualified to pilot passenger boats and ferry up to 12 passengers at any one time.
“This water transportation service will be a necessity during the construction stage of the Penang South Islands and will allow them to find additional income that will benefit their families,” said Datuk Seri Farizan Darus, CEO of Penang Infrastructure Corporation (PIC), a state agency.
He said this in his speech during the graduation ceremony organised by PIC and PSI project delivery partner SRS Consortium, held with the cooperation of the Marine Department at Universiti Sains Malaysia’s Eureka Complex yesterday.
The event was officiated by Deputy Chief Minister I Datuk Ahmad Zakiyuddin Abd Rahman.
Northern Marine Department director Mohd Hafiz Abdul Majid thanked the state and the developer who sponsored the nine fishermen.
Throughout my career, I’ve never seen a state government or developer sponsor the education of fishermen to generate the economy of the community.
“We are impressed with the tenacity of veteran fishermen who are still enthusiastic and interested in expanding their knowledge and experience, even at the age of 60.
“We understand it is not easy to follow the course,” he said.
One of the graduates, Fajinah Jaafar, 61, almost quit because she found it too difficult. However, she was happy to push herself with the encouragement of the examiner and was relieved to have successfully qualified as a seafarer.
After being a fisherwoman for almost 40 years, she said she never knew there was so much more to learn.
“I am so grateful. I have no words to express how I feel,” she said after obtaining her certificate and licence.
Mohd Noor Ismail, 39, who started fishing in his late teens, was also glad he could go through the course, as he can now make safer trips to sea with the knowledge and seafaring licence he has.
In 2004, he experienced a near-death experience when he fell off the boat while making a swift turn to retrieve his trawl net and got swept away by the sea’s strong undercurrents.
“If it wasn’t for the rope that one of the people on my boat threw out to me, which I managed to catch after many tries while I was struggling to stay afloat, I would not be here.
The sea is very dangerous and not lucrative; one wrong move can cost your life,” he said. “It does not matter if you can swim very well. The sea shows no mercy.”
The course covers chartwork, rules and regulations, meteorology, general knowledge of ships and engineering, general training, and training for a restricted operator certificate so they can handle radio communication while at sea.
Those who pass the written assessment at the end of the course are then eligible to sit for an oral test held by the Marine Department. Upon passing this, one is awarded a certificate of competency.
The first batch of students went through the seven-day course from February 28 to March 6 and completed their oral tests on April 21 and 22.
100 fishermen have applied for the course, and the next batch of students is expected to start the course in two to three months. – The Vibes, June 10, 2022