GIS – 23 November 2018: The importance of education as a key tool to empower children and enable them to achieve success in life was highlighted, yesterday, by the Minister of Ocean Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping, Mr Premdut Koonjoo, at the Mauritius Maritime Training Academy in Pointe aux Sables. He was speaking at a ceremony to reward 34 children of the fishing community with scholarships and the handing over 20 of Automatic Identification System (AIS) Transceivers to some fishermen and relevant authorities.
This initiative of the Fishermen Welfare Fund aimed at promoting the welfare of registered fishermen and their families both in Mauritius and Rodrigues.
In his address, Minister Koonjoo emphasised that children should be inculcated with essential values so that they do not fall prey to social scourges. The scholarships, he said, will provide financial assistance to children with good academic performance adding that it is an initiative to democratise access to education for children of fishermen. On this score, the Minister appealed to all children to put on hardwork, determination and concerted efforts in their educational pursuits.
As regards the use of the AIS transceivers, he pointed out that they are lifesaving devices which will help improve safety and security for small scale fishers. He further highlighted that these transceivers will be used during search and rescue (SAR) operations in lost cases at sea and will allow national maritime agencies to track small vessels anywhere in seawaters. He encouraged the fishermen and relevant authorities to make proper use of these technological devices which will ease their daily lives.
Sixteen scholarships have been awarded to students who have completed the Primary School Achievement Certificate (PSAC) and will pursue their secondary education. They will receive an allowance of Rs 375 per month during their Grade 7 to 9 years. In addition, a monthly allowance of Rs 750 will be allocated to eleven students of Grades 12 and 13. As for students of Post Higher School Certificate, seven of them will benefit from Rs 1,500 per month so as to continue their tertiary studies.
Twenty AIS transceivers were allocated to the Republic of Mauritius by the South African Maritime Safety Authority. These transceivers are intended to be used in a trial project involving fishing vessels/canoes in SAR area of the Republic of Mauritius.
The trial project, starting in 26 November 2018, will make use of the 20 AIS transceivers and the exactEarth web accounts for the monitoring of vessels/canoes of selected fishermen who are at sea and will help SAR authorities to respond promptly when they are in distress at sea. It is expected to be completed by end of February 2019.
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