The Vice Chancellor of the Regional Maritime University (RMU), Professor Elvis Nyarko, has challenged multinational oil companies operating on the Jubilee Field to support fishermen in the oil enclave to pursue training at the University.
He said the training would provide them with employable skills so that they would not obstruct or disturb the offshore oil exploration and production activities.
Prof Nyarko observed that often some fishermen trespassed the buffer zones around the Floating Production and Storage Offloading (FPSO) facility with their canoes on the Jubilee Field, during fishing expeditions. This results in collision with supply vessels, which oil companies pay compensation to victims for destruction of fishing equipment.
Moreover, the possibility of fishing nets entangling vital oil installations on the seabed was high as that could damage the installations and halt oil production with resultant cost to the oil companies and the country at large.
Therefore, to avoid all these risks and inconveniences, the Vice Chancellor suggested to oil companies to support fishermen to be trained in alternative livelihood skills such as welding, marine engine mechanics, engineer assistants and other hands-on skills for possible jobs in the petroleum sector.
“Some oil companies in the Niger Delta in Nigeria enrolled about 100 militias to pursue petroleum courses in this University and it has helped them to obtain alternative livelihood skills considering the damage being caused by the militias to oil and gas installations in that region, with resultant financial losses”, he noted.
Prof Nyarko indicated that Junior High School graduates with Basic Education Certificates could be admitted at the University for basic training in oil and gas related courses to increase the number of Ghanaians employees in the sector.
He said the University had received equipment from the government to train more Ghanaians in oil and gas courses in line with the local content policy and, therefore, urged Ghanaians to take advantage of the opportunity.
The Vice Chancellor advised students who had received similar training in petroleum courses in other educational institutions to pursue further courses at the University in view of its credibility in training maritime professionals over the years.
Prof. Nyarko with selected journalists undergoing training in the extractive industry visited the University at Nungua, in the Greater Accra Region, to acquaint themselves with the petroleum courses and safety programmes offered at the University.
The journalists toured the facility and interacted with the course leader, Mr. Simon Beji Rund, who indicated that the Centre was established in 2010, to prepare personnel for the petroleum industry in partnership with Sibrima Maritime Training Centre (SMTC) of Malaysia, which had over 22 years’ experience in training oil and gas staff in Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and other parts of the world.
He said the facility followed Offshore Petroleum Industry and Training Organisation (OPITO) safety standard, recognised by the United Kingdom.
So far, he said, about 5000 people from Pakistan, United Kingdom, United States of America, la Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, and Ghana had been trained at the Centre since its inception in 2010.
Meanwhile, a rigging and slinging facility had been mounted at the Centre to train oil riggers and is awaiting approval from OPITO.
Mr. Daniel Ampadu, Training and Quality Health Safety and Environment Coordinator at the Centre, said the centre had trained staff of some oil companies and stakeholders in the petroleum sector including, Tullow Ghana Limited, MODEC, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, Petroleum Commission, as well as journalists and individuals.
The RMU formerly known as Ghana Nautical College is an international maritime tertiary institution governed by five West and Central African countries-Cameron, The Gambia, Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone-on maritime transport.
It was established in 1958 but attained a University status in 2007, to train maritime personnel for the oil and gas and ancillary industries, to acquire knowledge, excellence and discipline in academic, professional, vocational and research work.