Some 15 maritime academies were set up at different places in the country without proper approval of the concerned ministry, which have now become cause of pain for the certificate seekers and their guardians.
The maritime academies were approved unlawfully by the then examiner of Shipping Department SM Nazmul Huq and Director General (DG) Jobayer Ahmed violating the rules and regulations. As per provision, approval from the concerned ministry is a must before giving permission to set up and run any maritime academy.
The maritime academies were given permission to set up by the Shipping Department without consent of Shipping Ministry are: Bangladesh Maritime Training Institute (BMTI), Shah Marine & Business Institute, MAS Maritime Academy, Academy of Marine Education and Technology (AMET), Ocean Maritime Academy, Pacific Maritime Academy, Western Maritime Aca-demy, Cambridge Maritime College, Maritime Insti-tute of Science and Technology, Bay Maritime Institute, West Way Maritime Institute, Atla-ntic Maritime Academy, Marine Academy, National Marine Academy of Bangla-desh and Asian Maritime Academy. Sources said that these maritime acade
mies were given approval unlawfully in exchange of huge amount of bribe. There was no sign of Chief Examiner or Chief Nautical Surveyor or Chief Engineer or Ship Surveyor on the relevant files for approval. Only SM Nazmul Huq, the then examiner and also incumbent Chief Engineer in collaboration with the then DG Jobayer Ahmed signed the files without consent of the concerned ministry.
Of the total unauthorized maritime institutes, eight including Cambridge Maritime College, Maritime Institute of Science and Technology, Bay Maritime Institute, West Way Maritime Institute, Atlantic Maritime Academy, Marine Academy, National Marine Academy of Bangladesh and Asian Maritime Academy were closed by the directive of higher authorities in 2016-17, while seven others are running their activities still now.
Sources said, at least 2,000 students get admitted to the unauthorized maritime academies every year and gain certificates after completion of their course. During the admission, the maritime academies authorities realize at least Tk 18 lakh to Tk 24 lakh as tuition fees from each student. But, this is the reality that, the students, who get certificates as cadets, are not getting jobs as per their expectation due to unavailability of job facilities at home and abroad.
An official of the concerned Shipping Ministry seeking anonymity told The Asian Age that, three maritime academies like international Maritime Training Academy, United Maritime Academy and International Maritime Academy (IMA) are running after taking approval in legal process.
Besides, Bangladesh is capable to provide jobs to highest 200 cadets a year. But, rest cadet certificate holders lead miserable life amid extreme frustration for want of jobs. Consequently, unemployment problem is taking a serious turn for these cadets, while their guardian especially middle class parents are facing difficulties and sitting on the way after losing their last penny.
A guardian seeking anonymity said, he paid Tk 24 lakh for getting his son admitted to a maritime academy by selling his land. But, his son is now passing days without job. Besides, the certificate, which was gained from the institution, is not being accepted by the service provider institutions in question of legality. Like me, many families have now reached on the verge of ruination after falling in the trap of such institutions, he claimed.
Captain Jillur Rahman Bhuiyan, President of Bangladesh Merchant Marine Officers' Association on August 6 submitted a letter to the Secretary of the Ministry of Shipping and protested the move of such a private maritime academy for running recruitment and providing training to create new cadets as the current job markets for the cadets are very vulnerable. If such recruitment and training activities are continued, job scarcity will be increased, he mentioned.
While contacted over cell phone, Mahbubur Rahman, Director of National Marine Academy in Chittagong said, "We took approval for our institution from the Department of Shipping after fulfilling all of its requirements. Maintaining necessary procedures and taking approval from the concerned ministry were duties of the concerned department. If something was wrong, we are not responsible for that. However, we have now prepared to shut down our activities centering the recent crisis of job markets."
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