Monrovia — The National Port Authority (NPA) has embarked on a training initiative for marine personnel assigned at the major ports in Liberia.
The first phase of the training currently taking place in Monrovia is under a mandate from the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
All courses are required to be completed before certification.
The training features skills in firefighting, survival at sea techniques, personnel safety and social responsibility, security duties and awareness and basic first aid, among others.
At the start of the training, the Managing Director of the National Port Authority said the trainings are bare minimum requirements by IMO for every sea fearer who are assigned on vessels.
David Williams said when the NPA conducted similar training in 2008, the certificate awarded to the beneficiaries was validated for five years.
"Since 2013, our marine personnel certificates expired, hence, the urgency to conduct this particular training at the moment.
Particularly, since the NPA purchased four vessels, two tug boats, one pilot boat and one patrol boat under the auspices of the Kuwaiti fund loan agreement, all four vessels are currently at the port of Greenville," Williams said.
The NPA boss also described the first phase of the training of marine personnel as the beginning of a necessary undertaking.
According to Williams, the second phase of the training will be short courses that will upgrade the licenses of marine personnel, pilot, engineers and deckhands.
"This phase (second phase) will take months; it will be done in phases since we cannot take all of the personnel to training at the same time.
Following this, we will move to begin training the next generation of marine personnel so that we have a steady flow of ready personnel take our program into the future," he explained.
"The personnel participating in this training are the individuals currently who will be responsible for manning our vessels. We also have our colleagues from the Roberts International Airport and the Liberian Red Cross participating in the marine training."
Mr. Williams, however, urged the participants to be fully involved, absorb the lectures and engage the facilitators on things that they (marines) might not understand.
For the past years, the NPA has engaged the Maritime Institute of Ghana to conduct such training for Liberian marines.
And based on the NPA engagement, a delegation from Ghana is currently in the country to conduct the training for Liberian Marines.
The head of delegation conducting the training and an instructor of the Regional Marine University in Ghana, Joshua Addo, said his team was in the country for the training based on an agreement signed with the NPA.
"We are here to conduct this training based on the MOU with the NPA and we urge all of you to put your time to this as we conduct the training, ask all the questions you want to ask, everywhere you have doubts speak so that those doubts can be cleared," Addo said.