TACLOBAN CITY, (PNA) — Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Vice President Hiroshi Kato visited on Friday the National Maritime Polytechnic (NMP), a government maritime training and research agency, located in Cabalawan village here.

The purpose of the visit was to conduct an inspection tour of Japanese government-donated equipment based on the Grant Aid Agreement entered between NMP and JICA for the implementation of the former’s rehabilitation and recovery efforts for super typhoon “Yolanda” victims.

It is recalled that the grant assistance helped NMP speed up the restoration of its training operations through the provision of state-of-the-art equipment.

The donation consists of totally enclosed lifeboat and davit; installation and commissioning of one set full mission engine room simulator and one set global maritime distress and safety system simulator; a fast rescue boat davit; and various safety equipment. The fast rescue boat is expected to arrive in March 2016.

NMP Officer-in-Charge and Chief Administrative Officer Ruben Y. Maceda apprised the JICA official that the support from the Japanese government to the NMP through technical cooperation programs started in 1984 with the construction of the administration, training and generator buildings.

This was followed with the provision of training facilities and equipment, upgrading training for trainers, technical advice in the preparation of trainer’s manuals that addressed the new curriculum for adopting the revised Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) International Convention.

Further, he informed that to show appreciation of the technical cooperation, an NMP-JICA Friendship Park was established within the agency grounds with a marker that highlights the names of NMP scholars and those of their counterpart trainers in Japan.

Grace Marie T. Ayaso, NMP head of Maritime Research and Development, added that in 2012, the Japanese government, through its Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, also collaborated with the Philippine government through the NMP, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration and the Maritime Training Council in a research undertaking entitled “In Their Own Words: Filipino Seafarers’ Experiences of Maritime Piracy.”

“We have a very long history of cooperation and this is not the end,” Kato said.

With the newly-donated equipment, NMP expects to enhance the delivery of quality maritime training courses and the conduct of assessment of competences of Filipino seafarers to upgrade the seafaring expertise of merchant marine officers and ratings.

In its effort to contribute in providing employment to Filipino seafarers, NMP continues to upgrade its facilities and provide quality maritime trainings required pursuant to the STCW Convention as amended in 2010.

The NMP encourages those interested to avail of its maritime training programs to visit the NMP facebook page (facebook.com\nmptrainingcenter and website www.nmp.gov.ph where all related information on NMP trainings are availbale.