Government has revived plans to construct a marine training school that will help train captains.
According to Waiswa Bageya, the Ministry of Works and Transport Permanent Secretary, water transport had in the past been neglected by government but noted that they have revived hopes of investing in it.
“We are going to construct a marine training school in Namasagali as one of the ways of promoting water transport,” Bageya told the Nile Post.
“Water is the cheapest mode of transport and you need not to maintain it. It is even the shortest but we have not done enough to utilize it. This is why we want to tap into this resource.”
This is not the first time government hints at constructing a marine training school.
In 2014, the then Works Minister, Eng. Abraham Byandala said government was in “its final stages” of establishing a marine institute to train vessel operators a measure that seeks to curb water accidents adding that such an institute would produce qualified vessel operators in line with the International Maritime Organisation standards.
“We have realised the need for this institute for the safety of water transport users. We will now partner with Maritime Institute of Tanzania as we build our local capacity,” Eng Byandala was quoted by the Daily Monitor.
However, five years later, the same has never been effected but according to the Works Ministry Permanent Secretary, it should have been done yesterday but there were some constraints.
“This training institute should have been there yesterday and we are far behind schedule.”
Bageya said the country doesn’t have enough captains, engineers and technicians a thing has partly contributed to water accidents like in the ill-fated MV Templar boat last year.
“We need captains and those to maintain them but as I talk now, we have only two who are training in Tanzania. We need ours in order to develop capacity on water transport,”Bageya said.
He said the institute will be located at the shores of the Nile at the spot where the former Namasagali College used to be.
The Permanent Secretary said government has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with Busitema University that is running the place.
“We are now doing the pre-feasibility study so that we capture it as a project under the ministry. Once the studies are done, we shall submit to the Ministry of Finance.”
“We are hopeful by the next financial year we are able to start construction.”
He, however, asked the private sector to help invest heavily in water transport as an alternative mode of transport to road.
Currently, the region depends on the Maritime Institute of Tanzania, the only accredited marine school in East Africa.
Normally, training for vessel operators takes a minimum of five years for them to be equipped with firefighting, prevention, personal survival, personal safety and other skills required on water.