Saturday, August 30, 2014

Freight and RoRo Ferry Group Launch Maritime Centre of Excellence

Established African Links with Partners Leads to Training Cooperation
Shipping News Feature

ANGOLA – SWEDEN – Swedish maritime group Stena has reinforced ties with the Southern African Republic with the official launch on August 27 by the freight and RoRo ferry company, together with Angolan public sector energy company Sonangol, of the Centro De Formação Maritima De Angola (CFMA) a world class maritime training facility, the first of its kind in Angola and believed to be the most modern maritime campus in Africa.

The campus is intended to be an internationally recognised centre of excellence, linked through Stena to leading maritime institutions in Europe and Asia in order to deliver marine education, training and certification to Angolan seafarers to satisfy Sonangol’s and Angola’s future requirements for marine expertise, particularly with regard to the country’s bulk energy production.

Stena and Sonangol are already co-operating through the Stena Sonangol Suezmax Pool, which since 2005 has operated a pool of large crude oil tankers, currently with a fleet of twenty three vessels, from four offices worldwide. In 2008 a second partnership was formed between Stena and Sonangol Shipping to design, create and build this new centre, which will be managed from the outset by the maritime faculty of City of Glasgow College, one of Europe’s foremost maritime training institutions.

The maritime campus is built on an imposing green field site close to Sumbe on the coast, approximately 360 kilometres south of Luanda and is completely self-contained. Up to 200 students per year will have the opportunity to study at the centre, starting with the first year in Angola and the second year in Glasgow. Erik Hånell, CEO Stena Bulk commented:

"The development of the Maritime Training Centre has been a natural step for Stena Bulk in our close relation with Sonangol where education has been one of the fundamental questions since we started our Joint Venture through Stena Sonangol Suezmax Pool. The investment in the project by Sonangol and Stena will ensure the long term success of the project, and will also bring added value by employing people from the surrounding area, and therefore contribute to the local economy and infrastructure to the benefit of the life condition of the local community.”

Northern Marine Management, a Glasgow based wholly owned Stena Company, led the project management team responsible for the design, build and pre-operational phase of the CFMA, and delivery of the state of the art Campus. City of Glasgow College will ensure compliance with the highest maritime academic standards and lead CFMA to develop Angolan STCW certification and support IMO ‘white list’ accreditation.

The intake of Cadet Trainees for Sonangol Shipping is planned to be the first of a stream of highly skilled and internationally qualified Angolan seafarers for Sonangol and the local maritime and offshore industries. During the first five years trainee numbers will be progressively increased with the potential to also offer many short and specialised courses to the wider maritime industry. A major component of the program will be to develop Angolan professional maritime academic staff that will eventually be fully responsible for managing and operating CFMA.

AMTSL will continue to provide oversight, guidance and direction to CFMA, with strategic funding where necessary, to ensure all training delivered by the Angolan College is of the highest international standard. The ultimate aim is to not only provide the academic basis for Angola to join the ‘White List’ of Countries assessed by the IMO as being able to deliver training to STCW standards, and thus able to issue Maritime Certificates of Competency in its own right, but to a standard recognised by all as the equivalent to those of the leading Maritime Nations.

CFMA is already a member of the Stena Association of Maritime Institutes (STAMI), a group of eight of the World’s leading Maritime Training Institutes who educate and train Stena’s seafarers and who are committed to leading and sharing excellence in maritime competence and certification.

Photo: Mr. Baiona, Sonangol and Dan Sten Olsson, Stena Group at the launch ceremony.