(Nassau, Bahamas) The Ministry of The Environment and Bahamas Maritime Authority celebrated the graduation of 57 Bahamas Maritime Cadet Corps (BMCC) students during ceremonies at the British Colonial Hilton. Thirty-three of the graduates are off to Canada for international certification.

The BMCC was established in 2003 with the objective of sensitizing high school students to opportunities available in the maritime industry. The program draws from all Government and private high schools in New Providence, Abaco and Grand Bahama. To date, 301 cadets have passed through the program. “We have a retention rate of 78 per cent,” Mr Deveaux observed during ceremonies, June 24. “This means that more than 200 young Bahamians are employed around the world seeking to become Master Mariners, Chief Engineers, and other industry-related professionals.” The Bahamas Maritime Authority (BMA) is the Government’s agent responsible for administering the Bahamas Ship Register, the collection of all ship registration and related fees, and for meeting the Bahamas’ expenses in respect of international obligations. The BMA currently has offices in Nassau, New York and London; representation in Japan, Greece, and Germany; and projects the opening of an office in Hong Kong. He pointed out that the Bahamas, with the third largest ship register in the world, plays “a leading role” in the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). The Bahamas maintains membership on the Council of the International Maritime Organization in Category ‘C’, to which it is the third largest contributor. “When we boast about a registry of almost 1,700 vessels with more than 55 million gross tons,” said Mr Deveaux, “it must be borne in mind that some of these ships have 2,000 people employed. “So, one can readily grasp the vast opportunities available for cadets who are willing to seek the proper training and dedicate themselves to maritime professions.”

He said his Ministry is “working closely” with the College of the Bahamas and other private sector partners to establish a Maritime Institution in the Bahamas where cadets can receive world class training and maritime education at home.

Signing on to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers has had a positive impact on inter-island mailboat service, he noted. “This action provides for minimum training and certification for all personnel employed on domestic vessels,” said Minister Deveaux. “The BMA was actively involved in the efforts to establish a centre at the Royal Bahamas Defence Force base where local seafarers could obtain these minimum standards. “Since its implementation, seafarers in the Bahamas have not only sought to better themselves but also to make their vessels compliant with international standards, and to pursue excellence in the domestic maritime sector.”

CAPTION Cadets BMCC cadets during graduation ceremony. (BIS photo/Derek Smith) Students BMCC cadets, off to canada for for international certification, are pictured during graduation ceremony. (BIS Photo / Derek Smith). Deveaux Minister Deveaux as he addressed graduating BMCC cadets. (BIS Photo / Derek Smith).