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New Masters class for longline mariners

Twelve US Longliner mariners are going through two weeks of training for US Masters operating in the American Samoa Longline Fishery. The training is being coordinated with the Tautai-O-Samoa-Longline & Fishing Association, the United States Coast Guard, American Samoa Detachment Office, American Samoa Shipyard Services Authority, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and National Marine Fishery Services.

The training is being held at various locations on island: longline fishing vessels, the Ronald Reagan Marine Railway in Atu’u NOAA office, as well as in the water at Utulei Beach Park.

Samoa News had a chance to speak with Steve Kostelnik and Michael Marsik (pictured back row far right) of the National Marine Fishery Service about their part in training the mariners, pictured here yesterday morning at Utulei Beach Park.

“The United States regulation states that the Masters of United States permitted vessels, must be either US citizens or US nationals. Because of that, we have had incidents where people were operating vessels without these regulations being met,” said Marsik.

“We are trying to get more people involved in the training... to get them up to speed. With this training, they will be able to operate as competent Masters of these vessels. We work a lot with the longline albacore fishing fleet.” he said.

“Together with a consortium of different owners, a co-op was built where they are training these young men to be certified US Masters” he noted. “Through the ‘Alaska Marine Safety Education Association,’ we are certified to teach Drill Instructor Training Courses.

“We are teaching these gentlemen to be able to conduct U.S. Coast Guard Certified Drills on the vessels, as they are required to do US Coast Guard Drills once a month. The drills are fire drills, flood drills, man overboard drills and abandoned ship’s all part of the training,” he concluded. 

Last month, there were sixteen Longliner Mariners who completed their two-week training for US Masters operating in the American Samoa Longline Fishery.