SEA-READY: Maritime Certificates Seafarers

The Liberia Maritime Authority, LiMA on Wednesday, January 18 certificated 70 Marine Security Officers and Seafarers at a colorful ceremony attended by officials of the United Seamen Ports and General Workers Union of Liberia (USPOGUL)-Seafarer Section. Thirty-five (35) Marine Security Officers of the Maritime Investigation and Intelligence Unit (MIIU) and Security Operations Section were awarded certificates for completing the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Short Mandatory Courses which include Elementary First Aid, Personal Safety and Social Responsibilities, Personal Survival Techniques and Basic Fire-fighting and Fire Prevention.

Also certificated were additional thirty-five (35) seafarers who were recently screened and vetted by the Liberia Maritime Authority for possible placement on sea-going vessels. These seafarers were certificated upon completion of a three-day refresher and sea-going tutorial at the Liberia Marine Training Institute (LMTI) located in Marshall City, Margibi County.

Speaking at the ceremony, the Executive Director of LMTI, Rev. Frederick Umoja cautioned the graduates to be the pacesetters for future classes as their class "would propel or accelerate the identification, selection, screening, training and placement of other young Liberians".

Also speaking at the certification and recognition ceremony was the Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer of the Liberia Maritime Authority, Mr. Binyah C. Kesselly who charged the honorees to do a good job representing Liberia. Said Commissioner Kesselly, "I promise you this much, if you continue to show what Liberia is all about-dedication, honesty, hard work, sincerity and commitment, we will continue to support everything that is necessary to ensure that more and more seafarers get on vessels." "However," Commissioner Kesselly continued "let me say to you categorically that if one of you blunders, the very first amendment that we will propose to the Act creating the Liberia Maritime Authority will be the removal of the section that makes us responsible to secure placement opportunities for seafarers and begin to engage others that are more serious in representing the image of Liberia."

Commissioner Kesselly expressed his frustration that Liberia, having the 2nd largest shipping registry has 500 or less of the more than 300,000 seafarers worldwide. "Your responsibility cannot be underestimated and cannot be understated. You are our new ambassadors and I’m proud to be leading the Liberia Maritime Authority during this historic moment of our Maritime program, especially with the reelection of Liberia to the IMO Council. Work hard because nothing covers performance. Encourage each other and support your colleagues in the discharge of your respective duties", Commissioner Kesselly concluded.

It can be recalled that the Seafarers Section of USPOGUL signed a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with NOS Shipping Company, a Singaporean Company with eight (8) Liberian flagged vessels to employ at least 16 seafarers aboard.

Madam Kpumeh, President of the Seafarers Section of USPOGUL thanked the Liberia Maritime Authority and promised her organization's continued commitment to the efforts of the Authority.

Forty (40) of the graduates have applied for seamen books while sixteen (16) are expected to begin work on oil rigs as soon as the books arrive from the Liberia International Ship and Corporate Registry (LISCR) offices in the US. Currently, there are nineteen (19) seafarers undergoing training at the LMTI and should be ready to join their colleagues on oil rigs in February of this year.

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