The project is funded by the Finnish government to the tune of N$11 million, and aims to satisfy a wider spectrum of maritime education and training needs in Namibia. It is named after the MARIBILIS marine research vessel, that was acquired by the Government of Namibia from Finland. The vessel will be integrated into the project as a living laboratory.
One of the highlights of the initiative is the introduction of a Double Degree programme in Maritime/Marine Engineering, to be offered in the Department of Mechanical and Marine Engineering at NUST. Upon completing their studies, students will obtain a degree certified by both NUST and SAMK. The Double Degree increases the employability of graduates because the qualification is supported by two institutions thus they acquire a broad range of skills, interdisciplinary knowledge and adaptability during their studies.
In his speech delivered by the Permanent Secretary, Dr Moses Maurihungirire, the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Benhard Esau, said: “My expectations are that the project will provide opportunities for the Namibian youth to get training in maritime navigation, maritime law, marine biology, harbour management, naval design and architecture, all the way through to transport and logistics. To this effect, this speaks well to the National Development Plan and Vision 2030.”
“Since 2015, NUST has made a presentation proposing the establishment of one strong ‘maritime college’ where different players offer different aspects of maritime education and training. All maritime education and training will then be coordinated from the marine college or institute,” said Dr Tjama Tjivikua, the NUST Vice-Chancellor. The project is a continuation of earlier work done in previous projects, namely Improving the Maritime Education in Namibia (MARIBIA) 2013-2015, and the Marine Research Capacity Development in Namibia (MARINAM) 2012-2015, in which NUST has played a key role.