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Asia Dive News : Sarawak Maritime Academy Ready By December

SIBU - Sarawak is to have its own maritime training academy by December this year.

State Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh performed the earth-breaking ceremony at the former Public Works Department's divisional office at Upper Lanang Road here Tuesday.

He said the RM11.5 million academy, to be known as the Sarawak Maritime Academy, would be the second in the country, after the Malaysian Maritime Academy in Melaka.

Wong said two internationally recognised maritime organisations from the Philippines -- the Philippines Maritime Foundation Incorporation and the Fame Maritime Foundation Incorportaion -- were helping to set up the academy and to organise its courses and syllabus.

"The academy will be recognised by the International Maritime Organisation which is a body of over 90 countries.

"We will allow the Filipino experts to run the academy together with some qualified Malaysians but five or six years later, locals will take over," he said.

He said it would begin basic three- to five-month courses for about 50 residential participants before looking into organising diploma and degree courses.

Wong said the academy would train Malaysians and those from the Asean countries and eventually, the Asian countries, as world-recognised seafarers.

Speaking to reporters later, he said about 20,000 people in the state were involved in maritime occupations but only about 5,000 were officially recognised.

He said Sarawak needed to produce 12,000 to 13,000 seafarers each year due to the high demand and the establishment of the academy would serve this purpose.