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While the maritime industry accounts for 20 percent of the country's economy, it still lacks highly qualified and experienced local mariners, according to a leading shipping company.
The maritime sector is currently the third-largest economic contributor to The Bahamas.
Marketing Officer at Campbell Shipping Norman Lightbourne told Guardian Business that despite having 40 Bahamians working onboard its 15-ship fleet, there is still a shortage of qualified Bahamians in the industry.
Lightbourne noted that three of the workers have achieved high ranks. Two of them, Jamaal Johnson and Garnett Rolle, have become second officers, and another, Howard Bastian, has become a third engineer.
Salaries in the maritime industry can range anywhere from a cadet earning $1,000 to a chief officer earning over $7,000 per month.
"Cadets are paid to learn or undergo onboard training to become deck officers. They have to complete a cadet training manual to prepare them to assume 3rd officer duties after they would have passed the necessary examinations and received their officer of the watch license," according to Lightbourne.
This appeal for more Bahamian involvement in the industry comes after Campbell Shipping announced its involvement in the $20 million Bahamas Maritime Institute. The initiative hopes to strengthen the sector and create hundreds of jobs.
Chandler Sands, the managing director of Campbell Shipping, told Guardian Business in January that far more education is needed for Bahamians to excel in this area.
"What we plan on doing is bringing that training home in an affordable way," Lightbourne said. According to him it is a 36-month program that has to be completed before a cadet is eligible to do license exams.
After completing these exams and receiving an officer of the watch license, cadets can sail as third officers and earn approximately $4,000 per month.
"The third officer works closely with the chief officer onboard and is responsible for day-to-day maintenance of life saving and fire-fighting equipment onboard. As a third officer you also do two to four hour watches per day," he said.
Usually after serving about 12 months onboard, Lightbourne revealed that a third officer is in the position to be directly promoted to second officer, which earns over $4,000 monthly.
"The second officer is responsible for the safe navigation of the vessel. His duties include planning the safe voyages for the vessel to travel from port to ports all around the world, and ensuring all navigational charts and nautical publications are kept updated. The second officer is also responsible for maintaining the medicine/medical logs onboard and has to keep a good inventory of all medical supplies," he added.
The next step for the second officer is to become a chief officer after 36 months of sea time as a deck officer. Second officers can complete a three-month maritime management course and then sit an extensive examination for a chief mate/master license.
The chief officer rank is more of a managerial position, as opposed to second and third officers who work more on an operational level. The chief officer is responsible for the overall safety and security of the vessel," said Lightbourne.
"One of his main responsibilities is also to develop loading and discharging plans for the cargo to be loaded and discharged when the ship arrives in port, and to ensure the ship is loaded properly, efficiently and safely," Lightbourne added.
"He is the person that is responsible for all the deck "ratings" on board the vessel and issues different tasks on a daily basis for the upkeep and maintenance of the ship."
Angela Benson, a 30-year employee of the Campbell Group, recently launched the latest vessel to be registered on the Bahamas Ship Registry.
The ship was launched at Tianjin Xingang Shipbuilding Heavy Industry Company Limited in China.
Campbell Shipping Company Limited (CSCL) is a Bahamian institution operating from the Campbell Maritime Centre on West Bay Street.
The CS Candy is a 37,000 ton dry bulk carrier. Its addition will increase the CSCL fleet to 15 ships under management.
Chandler B. T. Sands, managing director of Campbell Shipping Company Limited, noted that the addition of the CS Candy has marked a significant juncture in the fleet's growth.
Additionally, it will result in expanded opportunities for Bahamians to embrace a career in the maritime industry as a seafarer.
The launch was followed by a special dinner hosted by the shipyard.
Campbell Shipping Company yesterday signed a $30 million contract for a Japanese built vessel. The contract was signed with Imabari Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. of Japan.
The contract is for a 38,000 Ton Dry Bulk Carrier and delivery is expected in 2013. The new vessel will be registered on the Bahamian Ship Registry and will increase the Campbell fleet of ships to 16.
The ceremony took place at the Balmoral Club.
Present were executives of Imabari Shipbuilding Company, the Clipper Group, Galbraith's Ltd. and Campbell Shipping Company.
The Imabari Shipbuilding Group is the fourth largest shipbuilding company in the world.
Kiyoshi Higaki, managing director and a third generation owner of the shipyard, was present for the signing of the contract.
By DENISE MAYCOCK
Tribune Freeport Reporter
FREEPORT - With 13 bulk carriers already, Bahamas-based Campbell's Shipping Company is seeking to double its fleet within the next year, a company executive said yesterday.
Jamaal Smith, assistant manning manager of Campbell's Shipping, said the vessels in their fleet represent a total of 15,000 tons or the size of two football fields.
"The company is growing steadily. We have 13 bulk carriers, which are very huge ships... and we are looking to double that number within the next year," he said.
Campbell's Shipping Company has been in operation since 1971, and has ships operating internationally ...
Campbell Shipping has unveiled a $30 million maritime academy for Crystal Cay that will create more than 3,000 jobs in the coming years.
In a ceremony held yesterday evening at the Balmoral Club, Prime Minister Perry Christie, members of his Cabinet and leaders of the maritime and educational community welcomed the launch of a historic first. The Lowell J. Mortimer Maritime Academy, or LJM Maritime Academy for short, is expected to considerably bolster what many consider to be the country's third most important industry.
"It will be a $30 million project, with the first phase completed in September 2013 and the second phase in September 2014," said Norman Lightbourne, head of marketing at Campbell Shipping. "It will include a facility on Crystal Cay and part of Arawak Cay, where the new port is."
The academy will welcome 50 students when it opens. That figure will double by the time the second phase is finished in 2014. Dr. Brenda Cleare, former dean of pure and applied science at The College of The Bahamas, has been selected as president of the academy.
The goal, according to Campbell Shipping, is to attract young Bahamians between the ages of 18 and 35. Students should initially come from the Bahamas Maritime Cadet Corps, although the institute is also open to public entrants.
"After their training, these students will be able to go on international ships. We're just not preparing them for our ships," Lightbourne explained. "There are 1,600 registered ships in The Bahamas. Our goal is to have two Bahamians on each of those ships. That means 3,200 jobs eventually through this program."
Chandler Sands, the managing director at Campbell Shipping, said the underlining idea of the institute is to promote "national development" in The Bahamas.
The anticipated spike in employment opportunities is only one off-shoot of such an facility.
Ian Fair, the former chairman of the Bahamas Maritime Authority (BMA), said the creation of the academy should create a much-needed stockpile of workers for the sector. It could also serve as a much-needed means of diversification through the strengthening of the country's ports and the services they provide.
"There are huge career opportunities and there will be a massive growth of mariners over the next 20 years," Fair noted.
The vast majority of international trade is still conducted on the high seas, the former BMA chairman told Guardian Business, and The Bahamas is ideally situated, as an island nation, to step up its involvement. A great "tragedy" of the current cadet corps, he added, is the program fails to elevate Bahamians to the next level so they can compete and work on the international stage.
Last night's unveiling of the $30 million institute included the viewing of a documentary on Campbell Shipping. A videographer travelled with the firm's ships for two years and chronicled the experience.
The academy will feature state-of-the-art simulators and other technology for students, giving them real-world experience on land before they hit the high seas.
Campbell Shipping is launching the institute as a non-profit initiative, with the funding coming from its group of companies.
The maritime industry, the branding of The Bahamas' financial services industry and future possibilities for the country's financial services industry are on the agenda for the upcoming Nassau Conference, which takes places on June 15, 2011 at the British Colonial Hilton.
'Financial opportunities in the maritime industry' will be explored by Chandler Sands, managing director of Nassau-based Campbell Shipping Company Limited. A certified internal auditor, Mr. Sands brings 25 years of banking and finance (retail, private and international), accounting, internal audit, compliance and insurance experience from leadership positions held in several national and
international companies. In 2009, he initiated the development of a ship technical management company in Nassau and a crew manning company in Mumbai, India. Today, Campbell Shipping Company Limited, Bahamas, and Campbell Shipping Private Limited, India, manages the day-to-day operations of twelve international bulk cargo ships and employs over 650 sea and shore staff, including thirty Bahamian seafarers.
'Branding the Bahamas financial services industry' will be the luncheon presentation led by Wendy Warren, CEO and executive director of the Bahamas Financial Services Board (BFSB), with support from Karma Bahamas, a Nassau-based design firm which has been working with BFSB and its marketing committee on creating an updated branding program for the industry. Delegates to the conference will have an opportunity to comment on the direction for the program.
'A look ahead: Where will the industry be in five years' will feature views from both the private and public sectors.
Among the many speakers will be Adrian Crosbie-Jones, managing director of The Private Trust Corporation Limited (PTC) since 2008, the largest independent trust company in The Bahamas. Prior to joining PTC in 1994 he was actively involved in private banking in London with a large Liechtenstein trust and fiduciary group, principally to help them establish a U.K. subsidiary. He was actively involved in their international trust, fiduciary, financial planning and asset management operations. In 1988 he established his own fiduciary company with offices in London and Hong Kong, which specialized in the provision of international taxation, financial and corporate advice, mainly to clients in the Pacific Rim.
Brian M. Moree is the senior partner of McKinney, Bancroft & Hughes and the head of the Litigation Department. He is also the chair of the firm's financial services practice area. His practice includes commercial and civil litigation, insolvency, corporate, trusts and financial services. He regularly appears as counsel in the courts of The Bahamas including the Privy Council. He has been involved in a large number of the major commercial cases which have been litigated in The Bahamas relating to banking, trusts, insolvency, receiverships, companies and investment funds. Mr. Moree has acted as a stipendiary and circuit magistrate and a judge of the Supreme Court of The Bahamas.
Stanislaw J. Bereza was appointed inspector of banks and trust companies, The Central Bank of The Bahamas on July 28th, 2008. Prior to his appointment, Mr. Bereza served as a senior relationship manager with the UK Financial Services Authority (FSA)/Bank of England, with over thirteen years experience. During his tenure with the FSA, Mr. Bereza held a number of other positions including: Project manager for the FSA team responsible for the development of the FSA's industry-wide risk assessment framework for all UK authorized firms; senior manager and head of the FSA's Traded Markets Department and senior manager, Emerging Markets Department of the Bank Supervision Division of the FSA, during which time he participated in World Bank/IMF missions focused on bank restructuring and the development of banking supervision for the Ukraine, Latvia, Estonia and Indonesia.
The maritime sector is seeing a 10 percent jump in tonnage and revenues so far this year, as top executives seek new business from some familiar faces.
Ian Fair, the chairman of the Bahamas Maritime Authority, disclosed the latest trends on the industry yesterday, after meeting recently with clients in the UK and France.
The chairman said he is a "great believer" in giving existing clients the right kind of attention.
This approach and a renewed focus on marketing efforts have bolstered the bottom line for the country's third economic pillar.
"We're looking at a 10 percent increase in tonnage, which should be equivalent in terms of revenues. We are having a good year," he told Guardian Business. "I think attention to detail on the part of our staff is making a difference. We made a determination six months ago that we would spend this year marketing and getting into our existing clients on a regular basis. And it's starting to bear fruit."
The BMA also waived registration fees a couple years ago, Fair said, and the benefits are starting to be seen from that move.
Meanwhile, two major conferences and exhibitions are now approaching for the sector.
In April, Sea Japan, an international maritime exhibition and conference in Tokyo, will be attended by staff from the BMA.
"We're getting our London office together and going to see government departments. The Japanese are a significant portion of our client base. We'll be seeing existing clients and new clients," he told Guardian Business.
But the largest event of the year is in June, in Athens, Posidonia 2012.
Up to 800 exhibitors will be in attendance, including representatives from The Bahamas.
Fair said he mandated a position whereby BMA enters into closer partnerships with the tourism and financial services stakeholders in The Bahamas, creating "cross fertilization".
The chairman said his main role at the BMA is to serve as a "catalyst" for the sector, and bringing new business into the country is only one part of this endeavor. In addition, inspiring Bahamians to enter the sector and take on jobs is another challenge.
In January, Guardian Business reported that Campbell Shipping is spearheading a $20 million Bahamas Maritime Institute for Silver Cay.
Chandler Sands, the managing director at Campbell Shipping, said too many Bahamians end up completed the Bahamas Maritime Cadet Corps but fail to go on and receive the qualifications necessary for a productive career.
Fair agreed with this view.
"There are only so many scholarships around and not all fund the resources ot include their training. Between Campbell Shipping and College of the Bahamas, more Bahamians can fulfill their dreams."
The BMA chairman said the first students of the Bahamas Maritime Institute could be inaugurated as early as September.
Employment opportunities for Bahamian seafarers abound, a maritime industry expert said yesterday, with healthy growth in that industry dependent on conscious efforts to improve training, development and forge better linkages with key industries.
Chandler Sands cruised into the 2011 Nassau Conference at the British Colonial Hilton to talk to financial services industry professionals about the financial opportunities in the maritime industry yesterday. The managing director of shipping technical management company Campbell Shipping listed many of the natural advantages The Bahamas has in the maritime industry, but said that more effort needs to go into other ways to improve The Bahamas' value proposition.
"Sometimes the advantages that we have that are not man-made are not investigated significantly enough," according to Sands. "Today Denmark remains one of the few countries where maritime education has been readily available and the institutions in Denmark have become models for institutions around the world. Can The Bahamas do this? Can The Bahamas produce a similar framework?
"Sure we can."
The training and development of Bahamians is a key area to grow the benefits that accrue to the broader economy and society from the maritime industry, according to Sands. He envisioned an additional 1,500 good-paying jobs created for Bahamians over the next 15 years. Most of those would be for seafarers -- Bahamians who would work on ships flying a Bahamian flag, either in the engineering or deck and navigation area.
"There are increasing numbers of opportunities for qualified Bahamian seafarers," Sands said. "The challenge is qualifying seafarers."
Beginning in September, acquiring the requisite Bachelor's degree to get started will be more accessible for Bahamians. The College of The Bahamas (COB) will be offering three joint Bachelor's degree programs with the State University of New York (SUNY), Sands said. Under the program, students would complete 3 semesters at COB, four at SUNY, and the final semester back at COB. Graduates typically can start out making around $3,800 per month, he said.
Illustrating the employment opportunities, Sands gave some statistics relevant to Campbell Shipping, which he said employed 25 persons in Nassau, 12 in India, 40 Bahamian seafarers, and accessed a pool of 70 Filipino and 650 Indian seafarers. Bahamians could fill positions presently going to the international seafarer pools the company uses.
The COB/SUNY partnership should make securing the seafarer training more affordable, according to Sands, who said his company is working to help recruit 25 students for enrolment in the September program.
Sands, who has extensive experience in the financial services industry, said that more 'clustering' among the maritime, financial services and tourism industries would serve them all well. He cited an example of two significant shipowners in Nassau, one of whom he said was the number one shipowner in the world, but had never had a ship dry-dock at the Grand Bahama shipping facilities.
"There is something wrong with the way we do business," Sands said. "We do not think cluster."
Existing and developed skills in the financial services industry for developing a regulatory framework, policies, procedures and contingency plans, for example, could also be harnessed, according to Sands. While the maritime industry may currently be deficient in these areas, he said the requisite skills sets are readily available in the financial services industry. Institutions could market such services to the industry, Sands said.