Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Maritime institute on track to open

Maritime institute on track to open

Maritime institute on track to open

090205_04

Launch of degree-offering school could come this year

Photo by: SOVANN PHILONG

The Phnom Penh Port near Wat Phnom. A new maritime institute is set to open later this year, officials say.

THE Cambodian Maritime Institute, the first school in the Kingdom to

offer associate's and bachelor's degrees in maritime studies, could

potentially open in time for the 2009-10 academic year, said Hei Bavy,

director general of the Phnom Penh Autonomous Port (PPAP), in an

interview with the Post Monday.

Hei Bavy declined to say how

much it would cost to open the school, which will be operated by the

PPAP with assistance from the Sihanoukville Autonomous Port (SAP) and

under supervision from the Ministry of Public Works and Transport. But

he said officials had thus far received 60 percent of the money and

equipment necessary to begin operations.

Funding for the

school will come from the two ports, the ministry, student fees and

donor countries, Hei Bavy said, adding that the European Union, for

instance, had already provided financial support and plans to supply

the school with a navigation simulator by mid-2009.

"If we get

more support from development partners on time, I think we can start

our first academic program this year because we are ready," he said.

Need for workers

Hei

Bavy said rapid growth in the domestic maritime industry had created a

high demand for workers and, concurrently, an institute in which to

train them.

Presently, the only domestic maritime courses on

offer are those at the Cambodian Maritime Training Centre, which offers

short courses - ranging in length from four to 12 weeks - on skills

such as navigation, Hei Bavy said.

He said ships looking to

fly the Cambodian flag are required to have a crew that is 20-percent

Cambodian. He said he expected one-quarter of all licensed ship

captains in the Kingdom to be interested in attending the institute

because of the many employment opportunities in the industry.

Lack of interest?

But

a 2008 report released by the Cambodian Federation of Employers and

Business Associations found that only one percent of university and

vocational training students wanted to work in the shipping and

airlines industries.

Lou Kim Chhun, chairman and chief

executive officer of the SAP, said the increase in qualified maritime

workers the institute would likely generate could help him fill

positions at the port, which employs 1,160 people.

"There are

many jobs available on the ships for Cambodians, but right now they

have no chance to get them," said Zew Min Win, general manager of Mong

Reththy Port in Koh Kong province.

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