Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Port Inc David Jean-Marie has announced plans for the construction of a multimillion-dollar boat repair facility.
He said, in keeping with the port’s master plan, approximately 4.5 acres of land along the Mighty Grynner Highway have been allocated for the development of the facility intended to meet the needs of the local boating sector and reduce cost and foreign exchange output as boat owners would not have to take their craft overseas for service and repairs.
Following a ceremony for the presentation of the Minister’s Award of Excellence to two outstanding marine students from the Samuel Jackman Prescod Institute of Technology (SJPIT) held at the Ministry of Tourism and International Transport on Friday, Jean-Marie said plans for the new facility are currently before the Town Planning Department.
“We are now waiting for the approvals to come through. We have tendered and awarded it already. Right now they are going through the planning process. It will be a multimillion dollar concession,” he said.
Jean-Marie said the highly-anticipated facility will also service transient commercial and recreational vessels for short and long-term maintenance, satisfy repair and overhaul needs, including emergency haul-outs.
“It is our desire that the facility creates an enabling environment for the development of training in critical maritime skills through partnerships with, and attachments to, established training institutes and relevant private sector entities.
“To this end, we have already held a preliminary meeting with the SJPIT to discuss the institute’s assistance in providing the requisite training needed to support the planned operations of the Boat Haul-out Facility.
“These discussions will advance in keeping with the project initiation. This is all part of our effort to support the adoption of that wider strategic view in maritime training programmes, which keeps pace with emerging developments,” he said.
The Chief Executive Officer said it was also important to note that maritime education focused mainly on vocational training of deck and electronic officers on board sea-going vessels since their knowledge, skills and willingness could contribute to the reliability and efficiency of shipping operations.
However, Jean-Marie explained that factors such as economic growth, the rise in multi-modal supply chains, technological revolution and sophisticated maritime business models, have demanded a redesign of the maritime education curriculum with an objective to appeal to the younger generation.
He also stated that in recent years, substantial growth in professional and practice-based programmes has taken place among academic institutions with emphasis on apprentice-style, non academic learning approaches.
“We recognise the importance of balancing theoretical and practical knowledge to meet ever-changing national and international standards within the maritime industry, such as Port State Control (PSC) and the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code. And more importantly, we note that maritime education must evolve to become fully integrated with new developments in maritime environments, both built and natural,” he said.