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Singapore Maritime Week 2018: Record number of graduating seafarers

Singapore Maritime Week 2018: Record number of graduating seafarers
Neo Shi Wei Apr 26, 2018 -

MORE than 80 seafarers graduated from Certificate of Competency (CoC) (Special Limit) programmes at Singapore Polytechnic on Thursday, making it the largest graduating cohort since the programmes were first introduced in 2011.

The programmes prepare seafarers to serve on board ships that sail up to 30 nautical miles off Singapore waters, also known as "Special Limits".

They have to go through different phases in their training programmes, including courses at the Singapore Maritime Academy, as well as on-the-job training on ships.

These seafarers can choose either the deck or marine engineer officer tracks. Some are at the starting points of their careers, while others are in the middle of advancing their careers.

A total of 44 seafarers completed the special limit deck or marine engineer courses. 18 other seafarers graduated from the CoC Class 5 (Special Limit) programme, allowing them to be 2nd engineers or chief mates. Another 22 graduated from the Class 4 programme, which qualifies them to be chief engineers or masters.

The certificate, which is internationally recognised, is valid for five years and has to be re-validated after that for the holder to qualify for sea service.

Andrew Tan, chief executive of the Maritime & Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), said: "MPA is committed to growing a pipeline of skilled local seafarers to support the growth and transformation of the industry.

"We will continue to fine-tune our programmes to meet the needs of the industry."

The programmes were introduced by MPA, e2i and then-Workforce Development Agency (now Workforce Singapore) to deepen the skills of seafarers and provide a structured career pathway so that they can progress in the maritime industry.

Maritime Singapore has faced difficulties in recruiting young Singaporeans as seafarers, though the situation has improved in recent years following initiatives jointly introduced by MPA and its industry partners.

Captain Mohd Salleh Ahmad Sarwan, director of Singapore Maritime Academy, noted that Singaporeans make up most of the class attending nautical studies at Singapore Polytechnic with the academy these days. This compares favourably with six to seven years ago, when almost half the class were foreigners.

Amendment note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that 44 seafarers who completed their course became cadets. It is fact not cadets, but rather they completed special limit deck or marine engineer courses. The article above has been revised to reflect this.