06 Mar Penang South Islands: Fishermen complete first seafarer course under the Social Impact Management Plan (SIMP)
6 MARCH 2022
Penang South Islands:
Fishermen complete first seafarer course under the Social Impact Management
Prai, 6 March – A group of 10 fishermen from south Penang Island became the first batch to benefit from the seafarer course programme offered as part of the Penang South Islands (PSI) project’s Social Impact Management Plan (SIMP).
The seven-day “Mate Domestic less than 500 GT Open” course, which ended today, was held at Akademi Maritim Penjana Ilmu in Taman Inderawasih here.
The course covered chartwork, rules and regulations, meteorology, general ship knowledge, general engineering knowledge, basic training and restricted operator certificate.
Those who have passed the written assessment will advance to the oral test, which will be conducted by the Marine Department in two weeks. Those who pass will be awarded the Certificate of Competence (COC), which will enable them to work in national waters as seafarers.
With the COC, they can widen their horizons and work on pontoons and ships of less than 500 gross tonnage. They can offer boat transport services for construction workers and tourists in the future to earn additional or alternative income.
Fishermen who attended the course said it was an eye-opener for them, as they never knew the sea has so many rules and regulations.
Veteran fisherwoman from the PSI area, Fajinah Jaafar, 60, said the seafarer course has taught them the proper way to work at sea.
She said regular fishermen would not gain this kind of knowledge if they did not attend the course.
“All this while, we just did as we liked. But now we know what we should do and should not do when we encounter big ships in the sea.
“This course is very good for our knowledge on ships, including international ships,” she said.
Fajinah said if it was not for the PSI project, fishermen from south Penang Island would not get the opportunity to attend the course, which cost money.
“This is one of the project’s benefits for the local fishermen. If the project starts offering job opportunities, I will certainly try to make the most of it too,” she added.
Loo Tang Nee, 42, a Gertak Sanggul fisherman, said he was grateful for the opportunity to join the course. “Fishermen are mostly not very highly educated. The chance to attend this course exposes us to more knowledge and increases our understanding of rules and regulations at sea.
“Before this, we know nothing of these laws. I personally didn’t know there are so many. When we worked at sea, we just went with our experience and hunches,” he said.
Loo said he also welcomed future job opportunities from the PSI project.
“It will give me another opportunity to earn extra income and improve my livelihood. That is of course the best thing,” he added.
The Penang State Government has allocated RM100 million for the SIMP to develop the local fishing community.
Penang Infrastructure Corporation Chief Executive Officer, Dato’ Seri Farizan Bin Darus said the seafarer course was among training programmes offered under the PELITAKU community participation programme, which coordinated and delivered a number of benefits under the SIMP.
The first batch of 10 fishermen selected to attend the course, he said, were among those who have registered to accept the SIMP and had stated their interest in earning the seafarer certificate.
“I congratulate these 10 fishermen who have successfully completed the course. I wish them luck for their oral test, which will take place soon to enable them to get the Certificate of Competence from the Marine Department.
“When the PSI project starts in the second half of the year, more fishermen who have registered for the SIMP will have the opportunity to take the seafarer course, which is organised with the cooperation of the Marine Department; or other training programmes that are relevant to their vocation and their interests such as boat and engine repair and maintenance.
“This is a very good opportunity for fishermen, who want to widen their knowledge and gain new skills because the fees for the courses and training programmes are paid by the State Government,” he said at the closing of the seafarer course.
Dato’ Seri Farizan also said the State Government and the project delivery partner SRS Consortium were making plans and preparations to organise seafarer courses for the next batch of fishermen, and other programmes beneficial to the fishing community.
One of the main SIMP benefits to be coordinated and organised under PELITAKU is the tuition programme for fishermen children in primary and secondary schools. The programme is slated to begin in May this year.
“Planning for the tuition programme, especially for the next batch of students taking SPM, is in the final stage,” he said.
Dato’ Seri Farizan said the programme, which was being refined, was aimed at helping fishermen’s children study better and achieve better academic results to enable them to further their studies and secure good jobs in the future.
“Those successful will have the chance to become professionals like engineers,
architects, accountants and others. They can work in the PSI development after they have completed their higher education in four to six years’ time,” he said.
By then, the 1,200-acre Phase 1 reclamation of Island A would have completed and work on the topside development would be commencing, giving more opportunities to local graduates.
Dato Seri Farizan stressed that PSI was a development aimed at growing Penang’s economy and to bring positive reform to the locals in south Penang Island, especially the fishing community so they would enjoy long term socioeconomic advancement.
He said if the State Government only have them financial aid without providing other programmes, the fishermen would not be able to improve their lives for the long term.
“It is based on the principle that if we give them fish, they will just eat the fish. But if we give them fishing rods, then they will have the means to fish and provide food for themselves.
“Through PSI, the State Government wants to create more opportunities for fishermen like job, business and training opportunities, so they can broaden their horizons.
“The State Government wants to help fishermen improve themselves so they can be more competitive for the betterment of their families,” he said.
Dato Seri Farizan Bin Darus (third from left) congratulating the fishermen who had completed their seven-day seafarer course.
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