THE MERCHANT navy gained six new officers when all six cadets at the Shetland School of Nautical Studies (SSNS) passed oral examinations at the NAFC Marine Centre last week.
The cadets were part of the second year intake to the now established officer cadet programme at SSNS, which they joined in September 2005.
The candidates were able to sit the oral examinations after completing their HND in Nautical Science and collecting a portfolio of evidence to meet the requirements of the SVQ Level 3 qualification in marine vessel operations. The oral examination, conducted by a deck surveyor from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), is the final part of this three year cadet programme and is required to gain officer qualifications.
SSNS head Jan Rigden said: “I am absolutely delighted that this class has performed to such a high level in their examinations. The MCA oral is a searching and thorough test of their competence and is the final part of the jigsaw which allows these students to obtain their certificates. I wish them every success in their chosen career and am confident that they will make a major contribution to the safe navigation of every vessel that they sail on.
“The merchant navy offers challenging and rewarding opportunities to anyone with an interest in the sea and all of these young officers have already received offers of jobs with a variety of shipping companies. There has never been a better time to go to sea – with the promise of a rich and varied career with excellent prospects and rewards for enthusiastic and committed trainees.”
One of the cadets, Murdanie MacLeod from Lewis, said: “I’ve very much enjoyed my time at the centre in Shetland, which is in a great location and is a perfect place to stay. The sea phases were a valuable experience giving me the opportunity to travel on different ships and meet many people.
“I’ve made good friends in Shetland and have appreciated the support from staff at the NAFC. The course has given me a solid grounding for my future career. I’m now going to sea as junior officer or third mate with my sponsoring company and would like to progress to their gas or container fleet.”
The cadet programme is also making a contribution to Shetland Towage. Three of their mates, Steven Grant, Stephen Gardiner and Francis Fraser, studied along with this class of cadets and successfully completed the HND in Nautical Science. This is a requirement to allow them to progress to Chief Mate Unlimited Certificate of Competency.
Mr Fraser was also successful in passing the oral examination for Master 500GT NCV Certificate of Competence.