Government of the Federated States of Micronesia

Maritime Training Course Materials Presented to COM-FSM

PALIKIR, Pohnpei (FSM INFORAMTION SERVICE): September 28, 1998 - In a brief ceremony held at the Department of Transportation, Communication and Infrastructure, the Secretary of the Department presented course materials for Maritime Training Program to College of Micronesia-FSM President.

Secretary Lukner Weilbacher extended his thanks to COM-FSM Board of Regents for the approval and delivery of the maritime program under the auspices of COM-FSM, and thanked COM-FSM President Susan Moses for accepting the materials.

The course materials include packages for new entrants into the profession or pre-sea course for deck and engine-room ratings, course materials for class 6 masters/engineers, and for class 5 masters and engineers. Still others are forthcoming and as soon as those are received they will be transmitted to COM-FSM.

Moses said that COM-FSM is taking a "can do" approach in regards to the program.

The materials were the direct result of a project approved by the Association of Pacific Island Maritime Training Institutions and Maritime Authorities (APIMTIMA), during its second meeting in April 1997 in Suva, Fiji.

With funding assistance secured from the Government of New Zealand, the Maritime Program of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), acting as the Secretariat of the APIMTIMA, contracted and engaged the expertise of the Australian Maritime College's commercial arm AMC Search Limited, to develop the courses for the region. The materials presented to Moses are the culmination of all those efforts, said Matthias Ewarmai, Manager, Sea Transportation System Development Branch of the Division of Maritime Transportation.

The project to develop model training packages came about as a result of the entry into force on the first of February, 1997, of the 1995 amendments to the International Convention on Standard of Training Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW), 1978. The Convention prescribes minimum international standards to which seafarers must either meet or exceed.

Virtually, the world before the first of February 1997, saw all kinds of standards of training and certification being practiced.

Even with the entry into force in 1984 of the 1978 STCW Convention, many of these varied standards were still practiced internationally, mainly because many of the requirements of the Convention were left up to Governments, according to Ewarmai.

February 1, 1997 marked the beginning of a new era where standards of training and certification of seafarers worldwide for the first time, will be monitored by the International Maritime Organization, the world body which oversees safety of life and property at sea and the protection of the marine environment through the highest practicable standards of ship safety, in order to ensure that the standards being adhered to by Governments do indeed meet the standards laid down in the 1995 amendments to the 1978 STCW Convention.

The materials meet the standards of training and certification provided under the 1995 Amendment to the STCW Convention, and go on further in providing the ease for cross training for fishermen who may otherwise wish to work on merchant vessels.

"We wish to take this opportunity, therefore, to thank the Government of New Zealand for providing the funds for the development of these training materials, the lack of which we would be unable to achieve our aim of a safety conscious culture within the FSM maritime community," said Secretary Weilbacher. In conclusion, he said, "We also would like to give credits and certainly a million thank you's to those people working for the Regional Maritime Program of SPC for their untiring efforts to promote and enhance ship safety and protection of the marine environment within the Pacific Region, with particular emphasis on the FSM.

For further information on this release, please contact:

FSM Office of the President
Public Information: Press, Radio, Video
P.O Box 34
Palikir Station, Pohnpei, FM 96941
Tel.: (691) 320-2548/2092
Fax.: (691) 320-4356