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08-July-2004

Capt.Adam (in white jacket) in the German Lindenau shipyard where the Seychelles Progress is being built

Captain Guy Adam, Sepec chairman and chief executive officer, explained that tanker crew sizes have fallen in recent years due to the degree of mechanisation and computerised operations aboard modern vessels, but still pointed to a need for more Seychellois to go to sea.

"We have to develop in this field. This is a seafaring nation, when I went to sea there were so many Seychellois seafarers, then it faded away."
At present a total of 13 Seychellois are working aboard tankers with three more to travel to South Africa, in August, to study for tanker work.

Out of the Seychelles Pride crew of 20, four are Seychellois.
With crews of modern tankers spending up to six months away from home, Capt. Adam said that a heavy demand is placed on seafarers with families, leading to sailors leaving the sea for shore based jobs.

"It's a problem in most developed countries. Today there are very few people from Europe who still go to sea and they are mostly going to work on cruise ships."
He added that, "we must ensure that the people going on our ships are the right people, that they are not only sailors but our ambassadors."
The Sepec head pointed to an upgrade of the Maritime Training Centre (MTC) to help more Seychellois take up positions on board the tankers.

"We must get it to reach a standard that will be approved by the international community. Once this is reached it will be much easier for us, and less expensive, to train our people," he said.
Capt. Adam said that until training at the MTC is enhanced, by bringing in additional teaching staff, prospective Seychellois tanker crews will still have to go overseas for training in a wide range of areas including fire fighting, first aid and survival at sea.

Erwin Mohotti, director of the MTC, explained that the college is not currently recognised by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), but that it was inspected by IMO officials last year and is still awaiting a reply.
"The inspector appeared satisfied, but we are still waiting for a response," said Mr Mohotti, who added that the MTC is still working on meeting IMO standards.

"We are hoping to follow up with an IMO visit to 'train the trainers' and would like to train the students for international shipping."
At present MTC qualifications are only valid in Seychelles' waters.

 

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