Enforce local content on skills dev’t in marine sector—MPC boss

April 11, 2017
Source: Patrick PAINTSIL/thebftonline.com/Ghana
Enforce local content on skills dev’t in marine sector—MPC boss

Marine professionals’ body, Maritime Professionals Club (MPC), has urged government to enforce the relevant elements of the local content law, relating specifically to the oil and gas industry, on all offshore installations and support vessels operating in the country.

This, according to the body, is the only way government will be able to facilitate the proper training of Ghanaians in all aspects of marine operations and also enjoin such firms to adhere to their provisions for key operational and managerial positions.

Vice-President of the MPC, Ing. Teddy Mensah, said: “Ghana has a storehouse of well trained and experienced mariners who are ready to lend their expertise to the all aspects of the industry.

But at the same time, gaining access to on-the-job training remains a challenge to fresh marine professionals; but it is our collective responsibility to ensure that our sons and daughters are able to enter the job market when they graduate from school.”

Parliament in November 2013 passed the Petroleum Local Content and Local Participation Regulation, 2013 (LI 2204) to put Ghanaians at the forefront of all petroleum activities and ensure that they benefit from the country’s new resource.

Among the ideals of the regulation was to enjoin foreign operators in the industry to develop local capacities in the petroleum industry value chain as well as achieve the maximum local employment level and in-country spending of oil revenue.

Transport Minister, Kweku Ofori Asiamah, gave the assurance at his vetting that his ministry will engage the Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA) and the Regional Maritime University (RMU) to groom sea labour for the sub-regional and European markets, as part of efforts to reduce the burden of unemployment in the country.

The Regional Maritime University churns out hundreds of trained seafarers every year but the absence of training vessels and a national commercial line has forced a significant backlog with few seeking employment off the shores of the country.

As it stands, Ing. Mensah said, the chance of any fresh graduate from the RMU to gain employment off the shores of the country lies in the proven competence of Ghanaian marine officers working in high positions in foreign companies in an industry that is very competitive.

He has therefore suggested that all stakeholders, under the leadership and guidance of the Ministry of Transport and the Ghana Maritime Authority, should explore avenues to enter into crewing agreements with some of the major cargo carriers who operate regularly into Ghanaian ports. 

“Marine employers like any other institution are looking to hire only experienced officers from abroad. The good work ethics and performance record of seasoned Ghanaian seafarers on the international stage continues to pave the way for new graduates from RMU to gain employment outside the shores of Ghana,” he noted.