The Maritime Studies Department of Orkney College UHI, known as the Nav School recently ran its 5th annual course for Masters wishing to command coded vessels up to 200 tonnes. All five candidates passed the MCA oral exams which followed immediately after completion of the two week preparation course.
Mark Shiner, Head of Maritime Studies said:
“We are hugely proud of this course which, over the past five years has achieved a 92% pass rate. The results are independent as they are assessed by a Maritime and Coastguard Agency examiner who comes up to Orkney for the purpose. Some of our candidates have colleagues who have attended similar courses elsewhere and tell us that our course provides far more time and support than other training centres. We also appear to have a much better pass rate than the national average of around 60%.”
The course was written and delivered by maritime lecturers Emily Turton and David Leask who form a formidable teaching team playing to differing strengths. David is master of a standby vessel operating in the North Sea while Emily is owner and master of the dive boat Huskyan operating out of Stromness.
“Attending the two weeks training, which often includes the weekend in between, is a bit like going on a retreat. The candidates eat, sleep and breathe the course and don’t really think about much else if they can help it. We have some folk travelling to Orkney for the course and have increasing interest from some fairly big company names in the Maritime sector.” Mark added.
Successful candidates this year were [left to right in photo] Graham Stewart (Broth!), Conran Flett, Emmet O’Hagan Brian Cursiter and [separate photo] Michael Hargan. A further candidate attended the course and gained a pass at the 500 tonnes level.
Next year the Nav School hopes to formally open the course to those wishing to prepare for oral exams to 500 tonnes.
The course was originally put in place to respond to the needs of the local renewables fleet, however its appeal is now being recognised further afield, enabling local vessel operators to work outwith Orkney as well as locally.
Mark Shiner added:
“This course is our highest level of training for the moment although we don’t intend to stop expanding. We are currently developing Maritime Engineering which we hope to kick off with the MCA 30 hour approved engine course and, eventually the new Small Coded Vessel Engineer Certificate of Competence.”
Anyone wishing to work towards their Master Coded Vessels 200 tonnes course should contact Mark Shiner for a discussion.
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