Basseterre, St. Kitts (Sora Communications)- Just over 30 prospective and practicing mariners resident in St. Kitts and Nevis now have entry-level training in how to protect themselves and their passengers when at sea after completing a 15-hour course designed to get them up-to-par with international safety standards.
The training that lasted for one week in each of the islands was facilitated by Captain Ludel Harvey-Lloyd of Marine Safety Training Services. He said the Department of Maritime Affairs in the Ministry of Tourism and International Transport engaged him to train the boat operators in the Federation in the Basic Safety Marine Training Course.
“The overall objective of the course is to get persons who work on vessels in or around the Federation to be certified and not just look at it as a job on land because operations on the sea and on land are two different operations,” Captain Harvey explained. “So the Maritime Department is saying that you must have the entry-level to be employed at sea and the entrance level is the basic safety training. You’re carrying passengers and you have lives in your hand so you must know what to do in case of emergency.”
Topics covered the safety of the individual and the vessel such as Man Overboard that delved into what the captain should do and what the crew should do if someone fell overboard, The Importance of Wearing the Lifejacket while on Deck at Sea, Fire-Fighting and Survival at Sea. Relative to the seaman aspect topics included The Immersion Suit that is oftentimes referred to as a survival suit, Radio Communication as well as Knots and Splices that would be used in the daily routine. Splices are methods used to join severed rope.
Captain Harvey explained that the Basic Safety Training course was guided by international regulations.
“The Basic Safety Training was actually derived from the STCW, which stands for Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping which is the entrance level that one needs to have before you get on board any ship in the world,” Mr. Harvey said. “This is your passport into the industry, so the Maritime Department here contacted me to go and get these guys up to speed on the theoretical side of things and as much as possible go into the practical.”
The course in St. Kitts took place at the Police Training School, Basseterre from November 9 to 13 while that in Nevis took place November 23 to 27 at the Nevis Disaster Management Building, Long Point Road. On both islands, the 15-hour course was broken up into three-hour sessions from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Captain Harvey said that this timing enabled seafarers who worked at other full-time jobs to be able to attend the sessions.
Considering that there were 14 participants from St. Kitts and 19 from Nevis, the Captain informed that approximately 90 percent of the boat operators in the Federation do so out of Nevis. Additionally, three of the thirty-three participants were female.
The course was conducted during the new normal imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the expected protocols such as the wearing of masks, sanitizing and the social and physical distancing were observed. Participants were also reminded that they were to ensure that their vessels were laid out with the necessary spacing protocols and other key COVID-19 National Task Force guidelines as well as the importance of captain and crew wearing the necessary protective gear (mask and the like) before they could assist others.