The bandari Maritime Academy’s seafarers have every reason to smile after a leading maritime training center in Mombasa secured them apprenticeships with the French shipping giant CMA CGM.
It did so after the Maritime Academy signed a high-level Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with CMA CGM, a leading French container transport and shipping company based in Marseille, France’s second largest city.
The state-run Bandari Maritime Academy, previously known as Bandari College, is subordinate to the Kenya Ports Authority and is a regional center of excellence for developing skills for the blue business sector.
CMA CGM is a leading global shipping group with 257 shipping routes between 420 ports in 160 different countries.
The signing ceremony at the maritime center was hosted by State Secretary for Maritime and Shipping Affairs (PS), Nancy Karigithu, her colleague for Housing and Urban Development, Charles Hinga, the French Ambassador to Kenya, Aline Kuster-Menager and The National. Honors Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) of the Treasury Department, Nelson Gaichuhie.
Other attendees were CMA CGM, Vice President Africa, Ludovic Rozan, General Manager of CMA-CGM, Jean-Baptiste Longin for East Africa and General Director of Vision 2030, Ken Mwige and the Chief Executive Officer, Bandari Maritime Academy, Francis Muraya, government officials among others.
Karigithu noted that the MoU creates a framework to facilitate support for training and enhancement of skills and competencies in the country’s maritime sector.
“One of the main focuses of the agreement is to create opportunities to provide seafarers with opportunities at sea, as well as training for land-based shipping and port operations,” she said.
Karigithu said training opportunities to work on foreign flag ships will further improve the global competitiveness and employability of Kenyan seafarers in international shipping.
Maritime and Shipping Affairs PS stated that the country is in a process of transformation to revitalize its maritime spaces by unlocking the immense opportunities in the blue economy sector.
She said sustainable investments in the blue economy sector will help boost tourism, manage fish reserves, create jobs for the youth and social advancement for present and future generations.
“But in order to drive the blue economy up, it urgently needs highly qualified and qualified maritime personnel,” she joked.
PS Karigithu said her department will continue to provide both local and international seafaring jobs for Kenyan youth.
“We want them to acquire the skills and expertise they need to be able to successfully apply for job opportunities in the big blue economy,” she noted.
She said that after completing their classroom training, local shipping students are often unable to get places for practical training aboard a ship due to a lack of apprenticeship positions, which leaves them unemployed in the long run.
CMA-CGM managing director for East Africa, Jean-Baptiste Longin, said the company will train Maritime Academy cadets on board their ships and sail with them around the globe.
“We are excited to offer Kenyan midshipmen practical training on board our ships operating on international waterways,” said Longin.
Bandari Maritime Academy’s chief executive Francis Muraya says the institution is committed to providing world-class maritime education and training to the next generation of maritime personnel.
“Our partnership with CMA CGM will provide our midshipmen with hands-on training and prepare them for success in their preferred careers,” he said.
He said the Maritime Academy strives to produce 2,000 professionals annually to support the blue economy sector, which he described as “a key driver in the country’s economic transformation.”
“We currently have 400 apprentices in the nautical, marine engineering and marine logistics courses,” he said.
Muraya said the collaboration with French shipping giant CMA CGM will keep local seafarers informed of the latest trends, insights and technology in the industry.
“Such partnerships with established international container shipping companies will consolidate our position as the leading maritime education and training institution in the country,” he said.
By Hussein Abdullahi