Seafarers Raise Concern On Late Courses At FMA
Some Fijian Seafarers have raised concerns regarding the delay in the beginning of Bridging courses at the Fiji Maritime Academy (FMA) at Laucala Bay.
Concerns came when seafarers who completed the Bridging programs (Updating Programs), were informed that they had to complete additional courses in order to complete the renewal of the Certificates of Competency issued by Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji (MSAF).
According to FMA Chief Executive Officer Captain Anura Herath, these additional competencies are required by STCW 78’ as amended 2010. MSAF as the regulatory body will not renew the certificates unless the entire requirements are fulfilled.
Mr Herath admits the delay in commencement is due to late approvals for the courses.
According to Mr Herath the reason for the late approval is mainly due to MSAF requiring the FMA lecturers to be updated first. “The lectures who could update the local lecturers have to travel from Sri Lanka to do so.”
He said MSAF also required equipment such as Simulators, Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems (ECDIS) and Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) facilities to be fully functional before the commencement of the updating courses.
Logistics of travel, leaving work commitments obtaining funding and preparing accommodation in Fiji compounded in the delays Captain Hearth said.
Mr Herath says another three Sri Lankan lectures will be arriving to update more of the FMA lectures. “There will two Class I Master Mariners at FMA to conduct these simulators based program,” he said.
He said that FMA had informed seafarers about this simulators program.
“We have received the list of approved courses from MSAF and informed the seafarers on foreign and local vessel about this.” He said FMA would conduct the courses for all seafarers needing to renew their certificates.
He said seafarers must go through the updating course before the simulators courses.
“If some seafarers missed it this year they could update their COC next year,” he said.
He said that seafarers needed to update their COC every five years.
Following courses are required for renewal of COC to 2010 STCW convention Manila Amendments
Updating Courses for Deck Officers (Management level and Operational level)
Updating Courses for Engineering Officers (Management level and Operational level)
These simulators courses that the deck officers also need to complete are;
Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems (ECDIS)
Bridge Resource Management (BRM)
ystem (GMDSS) radio operator
While an ECDIS & BRM awareness certificate is issued as a part of updating course for the Class 4 /5 Deck Officers, for class three and above, the Deck Officers will require do the full BRM & ECDIS Courses.
Our Engineers will have to go through the Engine Room Resource Management (ERM) course after their Updating course.
While an ERM awareness certificate is issued as a part of updating course for the Class 4 /5 Engineers, for class three and above, the Engineers will require do the full ERM course.
According to Mr Herath the fees for simulators course for both deck and engineers are different. Updating course is cheaper than the simulators course.
He said the course fees for all courses including the simulator courses are considerably less that other all Maritime Training Institutes and some rates, the cheapest you could find in the region.
MSAF public relation officer Arnold Chanel says, MSAF can only approve courses once FMA has complied with the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watch keeping for Seafarers (STCW) and our National Legislation.
However, Mr Chanel says that FMA lectures need to complete IMO course 6.09, 6.10, 1.25 and 3.12 to be allowed to teach. He said the full functionality of essential equipment was a requirement of the STCW and National legislation.
Mr Herath said that so far more than 400 seafarers have completed the course and many more are expected to attend in before the 31stDecember 2016.