Assistant Information Officer
Department of Information & Public Relations
Four junior deckhands were awarded certificates and documents after successfully completing the Svitzer Recruitment Programme.
The men completed their customised safety training, medical fitness tests and seafarers documentation, and were congratulated at a ceremony held at the Premier’s Office yesterday on Thursday, April 7.
The programme was spearheaded by the Virgin Islands Shipping Registry, in collaboration with Svitzer America, and the H. Lavitty Stoutt Community College Centre for Applied Marine Studies, and was designed to recruit BVIslanders as Junior Deckhands for employment on board Svitzers’ international tugs.
Premier and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Honourable D. Orlando Smith, OBE, in remarks spoke about the progress the Shipping Registry and the wider Maritime Administration is showing by having programmes such as these.
The Premier said, “I look forward to continued progress in the marine sector as we go forward. It is an area of great potential for our economy. Vigilance is our motto and our marine reserves should continue to produce limitless opportunities in the foreseeable future.”
Acting Director of the Virgin Islands Shipping Registry, Captain Raman Bala, described the ceremony as a momentous occasion, as this was the first time such a programme has been implemented in the Territory.
Captain Balla said, “This is the first time an international company with over 400 hundred tugs have come to BVI and are recruiting people to work on their tugs. This is a great opportunity for these young gentlemen, as we expect that at a later stage they would become masters on board international ships and return to the Territory to provide the much needed technical expertise in high positions within the industry and government.”
Meanwhile, Head of the SVITZER Americas, Mr. Albert Snoei stated that the project of recruiting young persons to work on international tugs will be ongoing and new recruits will receive the required training onboard the tugs.
Mr. Snoei said, “It is a very special project, and I am very interested about it because the programme is one which is expected to train these young men to be able to master on board tugs. I started as a junior deckhand and I am now thirty years into the maritime business. I am hoping these young men would one day obtain the necessary qualifications and experience to replace me when the time comes.”
The recruits were trained in a newly developed three-day Deck Hand Safety Course at the HLSSC Centre for Applied Maritime Studies and were taught the skills that would be necessary to work as deckhands onboard tugs. They also received a two-day training in SVITZER Safety and Familiarisation Course.
The deckhands were assessed for medical fitness at the Peebles Hospital by Dr. Paula Trotman-Hastings under the UK Seafarers Medical Fitness regime. Dr. Trotman-Hastings was recently approved by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, United Kingdom, to examine candidates and issue the United Kingdom Seafarers Medical Fitness Certificate called ENG 1 on their behalf. ENG 1 is an internationally accepted medical fitness certificate which is valid for two years.