Bahamian Maritime Cadet Corps students who recently completed their initial three-month sea time called on Kamanna Valluri, managing director and president of Dockendale Shipping Company. Pictured from left are Jaharad Greene, Juliana Rolle, Mr Valluri, Adassia Woodside, and Renaldo Miller. (Photo by Derek Smith)
By: Gladstone Thurston
NASSAU, Bahamas – Five Bahamian Maritime Cadet Corps students have completed the three months sea time required by the International Maritime Organisation for international licencing.
They will be employed at sea for the next three years before returning to Holland Maritime College, Canada to sit their officers’ exams.
The students are Juliana Rolle, (engineering), Adassia Woodside (engineering), Shadya Woods (engineering), Jaharad Green (navigation), and Raynaldo Miller (navigation).
“We are very encouraged,” said Kamanna Valluri, managing director and president of Dockendale Shipping Company, a key sponsor of the programme.
“We have been giving them training and after that we have been sending them to sea on our ships,” he said. “They are doing very well. We are going to continue this kind of financial assistance and training.”
Dudley Martinborough, of the Bahamas Maritime Authority, said they were all grateful for Dockendale’s assistance as the country develops its maritime sector.
“Mr Valluri and Dockendale have been extremely good to us,” he said. “We can always count on them to give the students a training foundation and the possibilities of jobs for those who stick with the programme.
“Most of the students want to be officers. It is a long hard road but if they stick with it, it is very, very rewarding. Those who have stuck with it have made us proud.”
The Bahamas Maritime Cadet Corps is a programme of the Bahamas Maritime Authority. It seeks to prepare high school students of grades 10 through 12 for employment in the maritime industry.
It is conducted in conjunction with the Ministry of National Security by way of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force and the Ministry of Education.
A training centre is located at C R Walker Secondary School, Baillou Hill Road. It is designed to introduce students to the industry at the entry or basic rating level.
Tenth graders are taught first aid, coastal navigation, discipline, and vessel husbandry. Eleventh graders continue to develop their first year agenda with the addition of basic fire-fighting and practical exposure to life at sea.
Twelfth graders and given more exposure at sea in addition to becoming internationally certified by taking the Standards of Training Certification and Watchkeeping course. This is conducted by the Bahamas Maritime Training Institute and held at the Defence Force base.
The Bahamas ship registry has in excess of 1,600 vessels with crew sizes over 2,000 in some cases, noted Mr Martinborough.
“A programme such as this sensitizes students to this vast potential job market and is the initial step in qualifying them for future employment on ocean-going vessels,” he said.
For student marine engineer Woodside, 17, the experience was a good one. Her three-month stint took her to Europe, Ireland, UK and the US.
“I learned a lot,” she said. “It was trying at times. Nevertheless, I would like to stay in this field and gain more knowledge of it.”
Rolle, 18, encouraged Bahamians to consider the maritime industry for career opportunities.
“We need a lot of Bahamian engineers in this field,” she said. “I have had a wonderful experience working with Dockendale.” She was assigned with Woodside.
“We completed our tasks and got everything done although sometimes the seas were not working with us and we had trouble with that,” she said. “I plan to become a chief engineer.”
Green’s assignment took him to Colombia, Aruba, and South Africa.
“It was hard work, but it was a very good experience,” said the student marine navigator.
As a deck cadet, Miller who is also studying marine navigation saw US ports, Venezuela, Colombia, Trinidad and Aruba on his assignment.
“It was fun,” he said. “I learned a lot of stuff I did not know and I got a lot of practice on stuff I learned in school.