As the world prepares to celebrate World Maritime Day tomorrow there is much evidence that safety at sea has improved significantly since the Titanic disaster.
The theme for Maritime Day 2012 is, 100 Years After The Titanic and this year Barbados is concentrating on Safety of Life at Sea. This morning an interactive careers showcase was held at the Queen’s Park Steel Shed in the City for students to learn of some of the ways and careers available for them to practise safety when at sea.
In 1912, the Titanic was known as an “unsinkable” vessel but in April 15 the same year, the vessel hit an iceberg resulting in the deaths of about 1500 people. Arising from the sinking however, there was a greater awareness of issues relating to safety of life at sea. The adoption of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea better known as the SOLAS Convention sets out minimum standards for the construction, equipping and the operation of ships.
Along with 165 other states, Barbados too has adopted all the international maritime organisation’s conventions to improve safety at sea Minister of International Business and International Transport, George Hutson, told Barbados TODAY.
Adding that over the years Barbados had placed a lot more emphasis on safety and also on the environment and his ministry was currently engaged in discussions with the Ministry of Labour to adopt the international Maritime Labour convention which speaks to the working conditions of crews on board ships. Making sure that their living conditions on the ships, workers hours of and benefits were at the level that they should be given the century that they live.
Hutson said today’s showcase was designed to provide information about careers available in the maritime industry. This year they extended its scope to include presentations by the National Conservation Commission, the Barbados Coast Guard and an experienced mariner to provide you with a comprehensive overview of the significance of this aspect of the maritime sector.
Students from Combermere School, St. James Secondary school, Lester Vaughan School, Queen’s College, Springer Memorial Secondary School, the Seventh Day Adventist School and the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic attended the showcase.
“This (revitalisation) can only be done by sensitising and engaging young persons in the discussion on the sector, exposure to the opportunities available in the industry and ensuring easy access to training in the field. The availability to training is crucial for those persons wishing to obtain employment in the maritime sector. My ministry is committed to working with and assisting agencies to ensure that additional training opportunities are made available locally.In the meantime my ministry continues to press for the inclusion of the maritime studies in the National Development Scholarship,” he said.
There are many facets to safety at sea, among these standards are: the construction of and maintenance of the vessels, requirements for navigation, procedures for fire prevention and fire fighting, search and rescue procedures, training, certification and the demonstration of competence and safety equipment such as life vests, life rings, life boats, flares and immersion gear.
Students saw presentations today on Safety at Sea, Safety on the shore, careers on cruise ships, a video clip of the Titanic and they engaged in discussions on safety. (KC)