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PIC offering boat piloting courses to fishermen in Penang

PIC offering boat piloting courses to fishermen in Penang

GEORGE TOWN: Penang Infrastructure Corporation (PIC) is offering boat piloting courses to the fishing community in southern Penang in an effort to create more employment and business opportunities for fishermen under the Social Impact Management Plan (SIMP) scheme.

Deputy Chief Minister I Datuk Ahmad Zakiyuddin Abdul Rahman said through the course, fishermen would be able to get a valid boatmasters’ licence which is recognised by the Malaysian Marine Department, which can indirectly increase their income.

“The Penang South Reclamation (PSR) project initiated by the state government, will not affect the income of fishermen in the areas and in fact we guarantee it will propel the South Penang community, especially fishermen, forward with us.

“That is why PIC is offering a free Mate Domestic Open below 500GT Course to them and today nine fishermen from the first group have earned their licence after attending the course from Feb 28 to March 6 last year, as well as testing by the Marine Department last April 21-22,“ he told reporters after handing outthe certificates of competency to the fishermen at Universiti Sains Malaysia here today.

Also present were PIC executive officer Datuk Seri Farizan Darus and Northern Region Marine Department director Mohd Hafiz Abdul Majid.

The course covers the topics of chartwork, rules and regulations, meteorology, general knowledge of ships and engineering and general training.

Elaborating, Ahmad Zakiyuddin said after obtaining the boatmasters’ licence, the fishermen will possess the skills and qualifications to pilot passenger boats and can provide water transport services by using a licensed passenger boat.

He said this service would be a necessity during the construction stage of the PSR and at this juncture, the licence would open up opportunities for fishermen to earn additional income.

“(Thus) Fishermen’s income will not suffer due to the PSR development but will (in fact) be better. In addition to courses and training, the SIMP scheme will provide other benefits such as new boats and engines, new jetties, employment and business opportunities as well as offer education and housing schemes.

“In addition, the PSR project will also provide a navigation channel with a minimum width of 250 metres to allow fishermen to go to sea 24 hours a day regardless of low tide,“ he said.

Meanwhile, the only female course participant, Fajinah Jaafar, 61, who has been in the trade for the past 40 years said she almost gave up while taking the test due to the very demanding questions but sheer determination got her through.

“Out of the nine participants, I was the only woman and I was determined to get the licence so that I can venture into the field of boat piloting to increase my income apart from just fishing all the time,“ said the proud single mother. — Bernama