The maritime pilots’ cooperative is investing three million euro in a new state of the art centre for maritime research and training. This investment was announced by Transport Minister Ian Borg during a seminar which discussed safety in Grand Harbour and in Marsaxlokk Harbour.
The centre, Maritime MT, is to be built at Hal Far, and will be ready by the beginning of next year.
Training offered by the cooperative to date focuses mainly on maritime pilots, but when the new centre is completed a training programme will be drawn up for seamen and other workers in the maritime sector, including the yachting industry.
The cooperative’s Marketing and Operations Manager, Joseph Meli, stated that through the new centre the courses will double from the 25 presently offered. “Our aim is for those who work in the maritime sector to be in the best position to provide optimum performance in their work, whatever it may be; whether one is a Captain, an able seaman on a vessel or a clerk in an office.”
Mr Meli added that the maritime sector employs some 20,000 persons, and it is envisaged that it will reach 14% of the Gross Domestic Product. Mr Meli stated that private industry felt it should make this investment as it believes in and recognises the need for workers to be trained whilst maritime safety and security are safeguarded.
The investment was announced during a conference which discussed security in ports, with the Chief Pilot Captain Jesmond Mifsud stating that vessels have continued to grow in size, and Maltese pilots therefore need to continue to receive training.
“These vessels ae committed to visit Malta, passenger liners, as an example, with more than 10,000 persons on board, which means that when the vessels enter our ports we have to ensure there are no problems for the safety and security of our ports. The same happens with containers needing a connection with other ports, and it is thus imperative for these to enter Malta in the stipulated time,” Captain Mifsud explained.
Transport Minister Ian Borg said a strong industry like the maritime industry does not grow without the contribution of dedicated investors and entities like maritime pilots and their employees. Minister Borg expressed satisfaction that together with Government investment in various infrastructural projects, the private sector is taking an initiative with an emphasis on training.