Kiribati sailor training set to graduate more
Kiribati sailor training set to graduate more and merge with fisheries.
A marine training centre in Kiribati is graduating 89 sailors in June, as part of an ongoing project to provide locals with jobs.
The centre will soon amalgamate with a fisheries training centre as a way to share resources.
Authorities also hope the centres can help fisherman learn to avoid being lost at sea.
Alex Perrottet has been in Kiribati looking at progress.
The sounds of the Kiribati national anthem on Anzac Day at the Betio memorial, where New Zealand coastwatchers and civilians were executed during the second world war, while looking out for German boats. They never saw the Germans of course, but as early as the late 1960s, locals were being set up with jobs on board German ships. New Zealand is helping the centre with new buildings, and construction on a boarding facility for fisheries trainees is well underway. The Chief Officer, Tabuki Tamaatau, says there's plenty of flexibility in the training, meaning graduates can work on a ship's deck or the engine room. He says he's happy with what is now the country's premier facility.
TABUKI TAMAATAU: For the time being this is the newly built office in the country. You can go around Tarawa and there's no such kind of office. The next building, that's for the fisheries and the idea for 2015 is that we merge with the FTC. PERROTTET: And what's the rationale with merging the marine training and the fisheries? TABUKI TAMAATAU: "Well once they are here they will undergo their own curriculum for training, but they will have their own dormitories and they will all eat in one mess room. That's our project.
The Captain Superintendent, Boro Lucic, says the programme is free, with pocket money included. He says if students graduate, they are almost certain to get a job.
BORO LUCIC: So generally everything is free, up to the graduations, they will join to the recruiting agency, who is owned by the German shipping companies who actually employ all i-Kiribati seafarers and it's almost 99 percent of employment rate, it's still going on.
More than 2,000 sailors have graduated over the last 30 years, and in June 89 will follow suit. Only 11 have been ejected from this cohort for disciplinary reasons. Tom Tiito says he is looking forward to earning a wage and helping his family in Tarawa.
TOM TIITO: We are in the senior level, it's about one and half more months left. We are waiting for the decision of the SPMS and then we will graduate as seamen.
It's not the only course the centre is offering. Kiribati often has problems with fishermen getting lost at sea. The drifters use unequipped boats and air searches are not always successful. Captain Lucic says a three-week course gives locals basic training about taking spare fuel and maintaining their engines, but training isn't enough.
BORO LUCIC: It's mostly about the maintenance and the enforcement than actually about the training itself. So we are trying to raise the awareness about that and will offer the new courses not really how to survive but actually how to avoid being stranded at sea.
Captain Lucic and he has already seen some good results, but says enforcing regulations on board local fishing vessels needs to be stepped up.
To embed this content on your own webpage, cut and paste the following: