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Filipino focus for latest IMEC training initiative

London: The International Maritime Employers' Committee (IMEC) has launched a series of initiatives aimed at raising both the volume and quality of maritime education in Asia. London-based IMEC, whose 128 members operate some 7,200 ships and employ more than 185,000 seafarers, is focusing initially on the Philippines which provides 35% of its member companies' seamen and about 20% of officers.

Explaining the background, IMEC Chairman Ian Sherwood of Delta Marine said his members were no longer happy to see Filipino cadets trained to work merely as junior officers, but wanted to prepare them for future employment in senior officer positions. Similarly, IMEC wants to ease the path for seafarers who wish to study for officer positions.

IMEC's Cadet Training Enhancement Programme, launched a few weeks ago and boosted by the appointment of training consultant Captain Cedric D'Souza, will see the sponsorship of 50 specially selected Filipino cadets enlisted on IMEC training courses at the University of Cebu. A further 200 students will be taken on next year.

Following the organisation's AGM in London, Sherwood told journalists that this latest initiative followed an earlier move to "train the trainers". A group of 14 maritime lecturers from various Filipino colleges has just completed a module of the IMEC-sponsored course at the Warsash Maritime Academy in Southampton. The group is now receiving further training in the Philippines and will complete studies in September.

In another move to boost training resources, IMEC delegations are to visit both Manila and Vietnam in June to assess the feasibility of developing further maritime training resources. In Manila, IMEC personnel will examine scope to operate a department within the Maritime Academy of Asia and the Pacific, a union training institute. In Vietnam, the possibility of developing another maritime training programme specifically for students in that country will be assessed.  [28/03/08]

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