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30th August 2019, 16:51

Merchant Navy Training Board meet with University officials as part of preparations for Maritime Science degrees

The Director of the Merchant Navy Training Board has been in Gibraltar as part of preparations for the degree courses in Maritime Science being offered by the Gibraltar Maritime Academy at the University.

Kathryn Neilson spent two days speaking to University and Maritime officials on the Rock as part of the MNTB's process of recognition.

In a joint statement by the Government and the University, the Minister for the Port, Maritime Affairs and the University Gilbert Licudi said the Board's experience and expertise on setting standards in education and training for the maritime industry is well recognised and will be invaluable.

The degree courses in Maritime Science, both Nautical and Engineering with associated Cadetships were announced in June, at the opening reception of Gibraltar Maritime Week.

These, Minister Gilbert Licudi, said would be aligned to the UK's Merchant Navy Training Board - the shipping industry's central body for promoting and developing seafarer education, training and skill, adding, its endorsement is important. He also said the degrees will be aligned to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

In answer to GBC questions, a Gibraltar university spokesperson said the degree programmes are still in development ahead of its launch in September 2020, and will be assessed by the UK's Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education standards, once the curriculum has been fully established.

The MNTB's Director Kathryn Neilson told GBC the Board is working together with the University on Centre recognition, and highlighted the importance of approval by the Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, to achieve UK validation for the degrees.  Ms Neilson said it is the responsibility of a Flag State Administration to approve STCW training programmes.

The University's spokesperson confirmed that degree validation (as per QAA standards) follow a general process starting with establishing market demand, development of the specification, and then convening a validation committee ahead of the programme's launch.