Nairobi — The Dar es Salaam Maritime Training Institute has introduced new training programmes to allow workers to keep abreast with international trends.
Two new courses were launched ordinary seafarers, officers at ports and onboard ships, cargo clearing and forwarding agents and ship fleet-freight operators.
Until recently, workers at sea and lake transport regimes in the country were employed without necessarily having qualifications.
But the country's increased trade with advanced shipping nations like China, Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Japan, and the United States has put it under pressure to adopt international acceptable employment guidelines or risk its seamen and port being blacklisted.
According to Dar es Salaam Maritime Institute principal Thomas Mayagilo, the two new courses will add life to the industry.
The logistics and transport international diploma will provide a seamless transport convenience whose holder will professionally be able to arrange for a cargo from a port of loading abroad destined to inland Tanzania," he said.
He added that the system would help the delivery of cargo without delay and the importer will not be obliged to travel all the way to Dar es Salaam to chase his merchandise.
Seafarers will train on fire fighting techniques, response during life-threatening instances at sea or inland waters, safe cargo deployment on decks or hatches among other skill-instigated job requirements.
Many seafarers get injured or are the cause of fatal ship accidents due to lack of proper training before they are signed in to man the vessels.
Tanzania liberalised the water transport sub sector in 1990s. The country has in its jurisdiction an 800-km shore strip facing the Indian Ocean and several inland water bodies.
The institute is among a few such institutes in sub-Saharan Africa mandated by the International Maritime Organisation to offer marine engineering courses and certificates of competency.
Tanzania had until recently 320 marine engineers, most of them graduates of the institute. About 62 per cent of them work aboard locally registered ships; seven per cent on shore while four per cent on board foreign ships.
Tanzanians risked a forfeiture of 420 international jobs after those who worked with international shipping lines were found to have not undergone courses that conform to the standards of training, certification and watch keeping (STCW).
Tanzania later adopted the STCW signed the International Ship and Port Security (ISPS) Code.
Established in 1991, DMI took over the responsibility of designing the STCW and ISPC oriented training programmes. It trains company security officers, ship security officers and port security officers as a result.
Besides offering advanced diploma courses in marine transportation and engineering, the institute trains deck officers and marine engineers at the operational level and other shipboard personnel at the supporting level.
The basic operational objectives of DMI being however to train seafarers to the requirements of the 1978 international convention on "Standards of Training Certification and Watch keeping for Seafarers as amended in 1995, it trains students up to level of class 3 Certificate of Competency for both engineers and deck officers.
In 1996, the now East African Community designated the Dar es Salaam Maritime Institute as the regional maritime training centre.
The institute, funded by the Tanzanian government, and the Norwegian International Development Agency, admits students from all over including Uganda, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi and Namibia among others.