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Norwegian Firm, Cebu School Link Pact to Train Seamen
« on: December 04, 2007, 04:40:24 AM »

The Norwegian Maritime Foundation of the Philippines Inc. (NMFPI) and the University of Cebu-Lapulapu and Mandaue (UC-LM) on Thursday inked a deal for an exclusive partnership to train local cadets to become high-quality ship officers.

“We give high priority to Filipino seafarers on board Norwegian-owned, controlled, managed, or operated vessels. Filipinos are known in the industry to be highly skilled professionals and for their loyalty. That’s why we need them," said Odd Magne Skei, director for the Norwegian Training Center (NTC), the operational arm of the NMFPI.

To answer the high demand for world-class seafarers, UC-LM is determined to supply the high manpower requirement of its partner, the Norwegian Shipowners Association (NSA), by providing full scholarship grants to 300 nautical or marine engineering students.

Full Scholarship

The deal was sealed on Thursday when top officials of UC, NTC and NSA signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) at the Marco Polo Plaza Cebu.

The training program, which will begin in June 2008, allows UC-LM maritime students to avail of full scholarships inclusive of tuition, board and lodging, and book allowances.

It also allows scholars to take advantage of 10 months to 12 months shipboard training aboard international-plying NSA vessels as their apprenticeship, during which they will get a monthly allowance of $450 and job opportunities on board Norwegian-controlled vessels.

Deck Cadets Khirsty Mae Acre and Jose Mari Geraldo, NSA scholars, said the scholarship program has strengthened their commitment to meet the stringent demands of Norwegian vessels whose owners have high expectations and respect for Filipino maritime students and professionals.

“Seafaring is a tough job. I have become a man because of it," Acre said, who is among the lady deck cadets enrolled in the program.

World-Class

Larissa Kosanovic, first secretary of the Norwegian Embassy, said Norwegian shipping firms have been hiring Filipino seafarers since 1976 because of the Philippines’ pool of world-class maritime graduates supplied by NSA-recognized institutions such as UC-LM.

The UC-LM and NSA partnership started in 1993. It has produced more than 13 batches of sponsored cadets, who have also undertaken the apprenticeship program.

“The shipping industry in Norway continues to (experience a) boom. Over 500 direct scholarships are now offered to different maritime schools," Kosanovic said.

UC-LM, together with NSA, expects to train 1,500 more scholars in the coming years, said UC chancellor Candice Gotianuy.

In an interview with Sun.Star Cebu following the MOA signing, UC president Augusto Go said the scholarship grant has caused other international shipping companies to hire UC maritime graduates.

Other than the Norwegian group, Go revealed that the International Maritime Employer Cooperative (Imec) of the European bloc, as well as a shipping group from Japan, have expressed interest in feasible partnerships with UC.

Go said Imec intends to provide scholarship programs to 100 students while the group from Japan is planning a similar grant for 50 students.

“When they heard about this deal with NSA, they have started to come. It only means there is a shortage of good seafarers in the shipping industry," he said. “The Philippines is one of the biggest suppliers of manpower in the world but we need to invest in education and extensive training to make them world-class." -

Sun.Star
 


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