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Plans unveiled for mariners’ fire-training centre

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A new facility to help train mariners in firefighting could be established in Hamilton, according to a recent planning application.

According to the application, the Bermuda Maritime Academy hopes to set up a training facility at the junction of Washington Street and Elliot Street West, between Mount Saint Agnes and the Bull’s Head Car Park.

Drawings show the bulk of the land being left bare and unpaved, with a small two-level structure made of shopping containers erected near the western side of the plot.

According to planning documents, the facility would run one or two days a week for about 20 weeks of the year.

When in use, there would be three or four professional instructors on site along with no more than 12 class participants.

“We expect the impact on surrounding properties to be minimal as the total number of persons at any one time would be approximately 16,” documents stated.

“The training will involve the use of water and water hoses — fed from PVC tanks — and artificial smoke generated by equipment as used in nightclubs, theatres and film-making.

“The smoke generated will be contained within the training facility. Additionally, a small clean-burning propane burner will be used to simulate fire and heat for a period of approximately one hour during a normal eight-hour lesson day.”

The non-profit academy is to offer a standards of training, certification and watchkeeping course starting as part of an effort to prepare Bermudians for opportunities in the maritime industry.

The STCW course — made up of five components covering fire training, first aid, survival techniques, personal safety and social responsibility — is a basic standard for many seafaring positions that has not been available on island.

In a letter of support, Francis Richardson, the chief executive of the Bermuda Shipping and Maritime Authority, said that the training offered by such a facility would soon be essential for those who work in local waters when new legislation is introduced.

“The International Convention on Standards of Training Certification and Watchkeeping requires the implementation of legislation locally that will require STCW certification for personnel operating commercial vessels in local waters, for example the Department of Marine & Ports and private sector operators,” the letter stated.

“The BSMA in consultation with the Department of Marine & Ports has drafted new legislation to fulfil the national training and certification requirement by adapting the International Maritime Organisation-Small Commercial Vessel Code.

“The new Bermuda SCV Code is in final draft and it is planned to bring the new legislation into force imminently.

“The establishment of the Bermuda Maritime Academy that provides the STCW training and courses in accordance with the convention and national standards has removed the requirement for Bermudians to travel overseas for training and certification.”

The group added that it had provided technical advice and guidance to the BMA and helped to facilitate the process to ensure international recognition and approval of the courses offered on island.

The proposed site of the fire training facility (Photograph from planning documents)

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Published February 23, 2023 at 7:35 am (Updated February 23, 2023 at 7:35 am)

Plans unveiled for mariners’ fire-training centre

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