The Maritime and Survival Training Centre in Iceland
The Maritime and Survival Training Centre (MSSTC) was established in 1985 for training of seafarers and fishermen in survival techniques. It is a part of The Icelandic Association for Search and Rescue (ICE-SAR) that is a non profit organization that as well is formed of voluntary rescuers both land and sea based.
The ICE-SAR´s main aim is to increase safety among people both on land and at sea by powerful accidents prevention and search and rescue teams. ICE-SAR has about 100 rescue teams, located throughout Iceland. They comprise over 3,000 volunteers who are always on standby for emergencies. ICE-SAR owns and operates 14 all weather life-boats around the coast of Iceland. MSSTC is that division in ICE-SAR that take cares of safety at sea including training of crewmembers on rescue boats, seafarers in the merchant fleet and fishermen. ICE-SAR is a member of International Association for Safety and Survival Training (IASST).
The first year of MSSTC the courses where held in the location of head office of the ICE-SAR but in 1986 the centre got a training vessel that was named Sæbjörg. She had been serving as coast guard vessel but was then converted for her role as training vessel. In 1998 the Government of Iceland handed over to ICE-SAR a ferry for the purpose of replacing the former training vessel. She was renamed Sæbjörg and has housed the MSSTC since. During summer time the training vessel has sailed around the coast of Iceland to different fishing towns and villages with training courses but majority of the year the vessel is based in Reykjavik.
A wide variety of different courses, STCW and special ones, are provided by the Centre which aims on maritime safety. Among the subjects on the courses is Basic sea survival where the students learn how to use liferafts, lifejackets, survival suits, flares, MOB and personal safety equipment. The number of students that attend short courses at the Centre are from 1200 to 3500 pr. year. The MSSTC operates a quality system that fulfils the requirements in ISO 9001.
Employed at the centre are eight full staff teachers and instructors. In addition 8 temporary instructors are employed on time to time basis. As being under the umbrella of ICE-SAR a school board was formed consisting of members presenting the unions of seafarers and fishermen. The MSSTC gets yearly subsidy from the Government on yearly basis as well as charging course fee but on the basis non profit.