Historical Overview of the CMI

What is known today as the Caribbean Maritime Institute (CMI) was established in 1980 as the Jamaica Maritime Training Institute (JMTI), the result of the collaborative effort of the Government of Jamaica and the Government of the Kingdom of Norway (NORAD). The aim of the school at the time was to train Jamaican nationals to mann the Jamaica Merchant Marine (JMM) fleet of five ships.

Temporarily located at 9 Norman Road, Kingston, the school started with thirty (30) Jamaican students enrolled in the Merchant Certificate Class III as deck and engineering officers and was ran with a full maritime complement of five (5) Norwegian lecturers. Training was designed in accordance with the Norwegian and British systems of training of seafarers and was well above the minimum requirements of the 1978 Inter-governmental Maritime Consultative Organization (IMCO) (later known as the International Maritime Organization (IMO)) Convention for Seafarers.

A need developed for “able-bodied seamen” for Jamaica Maritime (JMM) and several short courses of three (3) months duration were run for personnel selected by JMM. An important part of the training was the fire fighting and safety training accessible to other organizations including Air Jamaica flight crews.

While the school operated in temporary quarters a more suitable site was found at Palisadoes Park. A school of initially 20, 000 square feet floor space in several buildings was designed and built. By May 1984, the entire JMTI was in new buildings.

The initial opening of JMTI was arranged to coincide with the first graduation of the class IV officers, held at the end of June 1984.

Ten years later (1990) the Institute was identified by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) as the national TRAINMAR Centre through which UNCTAD programmes could be delivered in the Caribbean. The initiative was set up with the aim of equipping senior and middle level managers of the land based ports, shipping and allied industry with the requisite skills to function effectively in the global market.

TRAINMAR programmes encompassed courses in supervisory, management, maritime documentary fraud, practical freight forwarding, maritime insurance, etc.

Within five (5) years of its commencement over four hundred (400) persons were trained in such areas as terminal and ship agency operations and port security.

Among the agencies that benefitted from TRAINMAR courses were Alcan Jamaica Limited, Petroleum Corporation Jamaica Limited, Rapid Sheffield. Jamaica, and Guardian Life Insurance Brokers. It is noteworthy that today some of these companies still access customized short courses offered by the Institute.

The Institute became fully Jamaicanized in 1992 with LCdr Michael Rodriguez as the first Jamaican-born Executive Director.

In recognition of the call of the Institute to emphasize education and training, the name was changed from JMTI to Jamaica Maritime Institute (JMI) in 1992.

In January 1993, the JMI became an autonomous statutory body under the laws of Jamaica and within the then Ministry of Public Utilities and Transport in accordance with the JMI Act of 1992. (See Appendix 1, for a copy of the Act). The Shipping Association of Jamaica (SAJ) and the Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ) became legal partners of the Institute.

With the industry well served by the national TRAINMAR Centre, in 1994, the JMI introduced the region’s first professional certification for the port and shipping industry, the Diploma in Shipping Logistics (DISL). Such was the success of the Diploma in Shipping Logistics that two (2) years later (1996), the JMI signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the University of the West Indies Distance Education Centre (UWIDEC) establishing the Caribbean Diploma in International Shipping and Logistics in the Eastern Caribbean. Under this programme fifty six (56) students in Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Trinidad and Tobago and St. Kitts received classroom instruction via satellite transmissions.

Following on the heels of this initiative in 1998, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) recognized the Institute as the preferred centre for regional maritime education and training. In that same year, the Diploma in International Shipping and Logistics obtained academic recognition from the World Maritime University (WMU) enabling graduates of the course to matriculate into its degree programmes.

In 1997 the Institute sought to strengthen its partnerships by signing an MOU with the University of Technology (UTech) establishing an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Industrial Systems, Operations and Maintenance (ADISOM). This union was born out of the recognition that a need existed in the allied industry for trained service technicians at the lower to supervisory levels. To bridge this gap the Associate Degree in Industrial Systems, Operations and Maintenance was introduced in September of 1997 on a full-time basis over a two year period. The following year, the programme was offered on a part-time basis with duration of four (4) years. The year 1997 also saw funding opportunities opening up to needy students with the establishment of the Jamaica Maritime Institute’s Trust Fund. This local fund still provides scholarships, bursaries and grants to students today.

While the Institute had always offered its seafaring courses above the standard required by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) the quality of these offerings was ratified by this body in the year 2000. In May 2000, a formal declaration of reciprocal recognition of the Standards of Training, Certification and Watch Keeping (STCW, 1995) Certificates of Competency was issued to Jamaica by the Maritime Coast Guard Agencies of the United Kingdom. This meant that officers who graduated from the CMI were now confirmed as holding qualifications of equal standing with those trained to certified standards throughout the world. Later that year, Jamaica was listed among the countries on the IMO ‘White list’ of nations complying with the STCW 95 Convention. This seal of approval further validated the CMI as a training institution of merit.

By 2001, the need to give the Institute an international flavour, content and stature was demonstrated by changing its name from JMI to the Caribbean Maritime Institute (CMI). In 2004 the Institute sought and gained accreditation for the Diploma in International Shipping and Logistics (DISL) and the Associate of Applied Science degree in Industrial Systems Operation from the University Council of Jamaica (UCJ).

A New Era 2006 and Beyond
The Institute has embraced a new and expanded vision and mission directed by its new philosophy and strategy known as the Blue Ocean Strategy Philosophy. Pursuant to and consistent with the Blue Ocean Strategy Philosophy, the new management has expanded the curricula to include degrees in Shipping, Logistics and Supply Chain Management, Security Administration and Management and engineering as shown below:

Bachelors Degrees:

  • B.Sc. Logistics and Supply Chain Management

  • B.Sc. Port Management

  • B.Sc. International Shipping

  • B.Sc. Cruise Shipping and Marine Tourism

  • B.Sc. Security Administration and Management

  • B.Eng. Industrial Systems

It must be noted that except for the B.Sc. in Security Administration and Management (SAM), the Bachelors of Science Degrees represent upgrade of the Diploma and Associate degree programmes.

To facilitate the expanded curricula, the Institute was re-organized into three (3) distinct but integrated schools to fit into the three (3) transport sub-sectors of land, sea and air. The professional seafarer’s programmes are conducted in conformity with the Standards of Training, Certification and Watch-keeping for Seafarers 1995 (STCW’95) Convention. The academic programmes are to be accredited by the University Council of Jamaica (UCJ), while the technical and vocational programmes are certified by the National Council on Technical and Vocational Education and Training (NCTVET).

Academic facilities at the Institute include three (3) main auditoria, four (4) classroom blocks, science laboratories, workshops, computer laboratories, simulators and the Lucien Rattray Resource Centre.

The CMI is committed to producing industry ready graduates, law abiding and disciplined leaders. It is committed to breaking the back of unemployment in the country and, to developing programmes that will meet the needs and expectations of the widest cross-section of Jamaican and the Caribbean youth, emphasizing good work ethics and best practises for the maritime and logistics sectors.

The Institute is sited on the Palisadoes Peninsula flanked by the Royal Jamaica Yacht Club to the East, the Gun Boat Beach on the West and the sea to the North and South. As a result of the location, CMI’s immediate neighbours are therefore, Port Royal, Harbour View and Bull Bay. The Institute is actually halfway between the Norman Manley International Airport and the Harbour View City Centre and adorned by luscious vegetation and salubrious environment. This tranquil salubrious environment makes it an ideal place for learning.

Over the thirty (30) years of the Institute’s existence, the size of the student population has increased from thirty (30) students and two (2) programmes in 1980 to over seven hundred and fifty (750) students and fourteen (14) programmes in 2010. This does not include the many and varied short course offerings that are delivered to corporate Jamaica and the International Shipping Industry. As the Institute has grown so also have the support structures that are essential to its viability, these include the number and calibre of faculty, the teaching and learning resources, the physical facilities and the student services offerings.

Today the Institute is recognized as the tertiary centre of excellence in the Caribbean for maritime education, training, research and consultancy.


Throughout its thirty (30) years of existence, particularly since late 2006, and driven by its blue ocean strategy philosophy, the CMI has forged many alliances in its quest to remain relevant in meeting the needs and expectations of the maritime and land based shipping industry of the Caribbean and the world.

The Caribbean Maritime Institute is accredited for its Maritime Education and Training programmes in Nautical and Marine Engineering Studies both locally and internationally through Jamaica’s inclusion on the International Maritime Organisation’s “White List”.

All maritime courses are offered in accordance with the International Maritime Organisation’s Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watch-keeping for Seafarers 1995 (STCW’95).

In Jamaica, we have established close relationship with the University of the West Indies and the University of Technology, Jamaica, through collaborative programmes and we are recognized by the University Council of Jamaica as a tertiary institution.

In the region we have secured endorsement from the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) as the preferred institution for maritime education and training and from the Caribbean Shipping Association (CSA).

The United Kingdom (UK) now accepts Jamaica’s Certificate of Competencies (COC’s) as equivalent to its own and satisfies competency requirements for service on UK Registered Ships and for entry into advanced training and examination in the UK Nautical Institutes.


With the installation of its present administration/ management in July 2006, and the adoption of the novel Blue Ocean Strategy Philosophy, the basic philosophy that now drives the new vision, mission and operations of the CMI, the Institute’s focus has since been directed to:

  1. Satisfying the ever growing demand, locally, regionally and worldwide for qualified

  2. Exploring the inescapable link between land, sea and air and the multi-faceted demands for training in these areas; this is catered to by both the Technical and Vocational (Advanced Studies) and the Academic Studies School; and ;

  3. Seeking to expand beyond strictly maritime boundaries and cut across, the multimodal transportation and logistics chain, the focus of the School of Academic Studies.

The Blue-Ocean Strategy Philosophy

According to the Harvard Business School all businesses, schools or otherwise, have traditionally existed and operated in a known market space, which it describes as red ocean. In red oceans, industry boundaries are defined and accepted, and the competitive rules of the game are known. Companies try to outperform their rivals to grab a greater share of existing demand. As the market space gets crowded, prospects of profits and growth are reduced; products become commodities, and cutthroat competition turns the ocean “bloody”.

Unlike red oceans, Blue Oceans denote all industries not currently in existence. Blue Oceans are defined by untapped market space, demand creation, and opportunity for highly profitable growth.

The Blue Ocean Strategy philosophy challenges the CMI to discover and capitalize in its own niche market rather than struggling to outperform rivals into crowded and shrinking traditional and orthodox educational and training disciplines. By discovering and catering to uncontested areas of demand, the Blue Ocean Strategy Philosophy makes completion in the red ocean irrelevant.

A recent report by the Maritime Industry analysts, Drewry Shipping Consultants assessed the current shortfall of officers in the global shipping fleet to be some 34,000, against a total requirement of 498,000. Moreover, based on Drewry’s fleet growth projections, and the assumption that officer supply will only increase at the current rate, the report predicts that by 2012, the officer shortfall will have grown to 83, 900.

Today, shipping and by extension, the logistics and supply chain industry account for 35% of the value of global trade. As global efficiency increases, the need for specialized businesses to service the growing demand in the maritime and general logistics sectors increase.

The implications of the phenomenal growth in demand for these services, is that there is a robust market that the CMI can tap into.

The CMI’s new mandate to increase enrolment to meet the growing industry demand, the introduction of new programmes and the expansion of existing ones, the establishment or forging of borderless partnership with local, regional and ivy league overseas institutions, the commitment of the Management to secure recognition for and accreditation of the Institute’s programmes etc, are some of the imperatives of the blue ocean strategy philosophy that will insulate the CMI from the unwarranted bloody competition of the red ocean. After all, CMI’s programmes are market driven. Its philosophy is consistent with its vision, mission and objectives.


The CMI envisions producing industry-ready maritime and logistics leaders through “borderless” strategic partnerships, research and application. Guided and driven by its blue ocean strategy philosophy, the CMI espouses the marriage between theory and practice in its programmes by ensuing that internship or work experience is a mandatory component of the programmes. Hands-on experience while undergoing training makes its graduates industry-ready.

The Associate Degree in Industrial Systems Operation and Maintenance Programme and its now upgraded Bachelor of Engineering Programme have been crafted not only to produce multi-faceted engineers but graduates with extensive work experience. Over seventy percent (70%) of graduates from these programmes are now in the employ of Jamaica Energy Partners (JEP) in Old Harbour, St. Catherine.

The Mission
The Mission of the Caribbean Maritime Institute is to “provide solutions through the application of knowledge, talents and skills of our team in continuously redefining the boundaries of tertiary education and professional maritime training through innovation”.

Implicit in this statement is the CMI’s mission to provide solutions to maritime and logistics socio-economic and technical problems, relying for the most part, on the collective efforts of its employees, and to continually seek to redefine the boundaries of tertiary education and professional maritime and logistics training through research and innovation.

Objectives of the Institute
In keeping with the vision and mission of the CMI and in furtherance of its philosophy, the Institute is committed to providing quality maritime and logistics education and training, and to producing graduates of a high calibre.

The provision of maritime and logistics consultancy services as well as being the citadel of local and regional maritime information are among the declared objectives of the Institute.

Fostering and promoting professionalism in the development of its staff, offering superior customer service to all its stakeholders and the fostering and enhancing of marine environmental awareness, response and planning in keeping with international conventions and standards are high on the objectives of the Caribbean Maritime Institute.

Organizational Structure
The organizational structure which supports the vision and mission of the Caribbean Maritime Institute is a hierarchical one. At the summit of the structure is a ten member Board of Directors appointed by the Honourable Minister of Transport and Works. The Board has oversight responsibility for determining and guiding the strategic policy of the organization.

Immediately below the Board of Directors is the Executive Director who has the responsibility for the micro management of the operations of the Institute assisted by the Deputy Executive Director. The Deputy Executive Director supervises the Director of Academics, Director of Marine and Professional Studies and the Registrar. The Directorate of Corporate Planning and Administration, Finance and Accounts, the Quality Assurance Manager and the Technical Services Manager report directly to the Executive Director.

The Institute’s programme offerings span three schools; Academic Studies, Marine and Professional Studies, and the Technical and Vocational (Advanced Studies) School.



Academic “School”
Prior to 1994, in a bid to ascertain the training needs of the member countries, the Caribbean Shipping Association (CSA) conducted two surveys. The results of the surveys revealed that most of the employees of the sector were neither formally trained nor certified.

As the training arm of the CSA it became the legitimate responsibility of the CMI to design programmes that would address these deficiencies. As a consequence in 1994, the Institute’s flagship Diploma in International Shipping and Logistics (DISL) programme was launched in conjunction with the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT). It was a resounding success.

By 1998, the programme was launched in five Eastern Caribbean territories: Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago, Saint. Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, Saint Lucia and Jamaica (Montego Bay). Guyana later joined the group in 2004 with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Critchlow Labour College (CLC).

Success begets success. In 1997, CMI had another flagship, in the Associate Degree in Industrial Systems, Operations and Maintenance, launched in conjunction with University of Technology, Jamaica, (UTech). This programme, born out of the Marine Engineering programme exposes individuals to all facets of the engineering discipline. It was well received and continues to be so by the industries and in particular the power and telecommunications industries.

That the CMI’s graduates of this programme now account for over seventy percent (70%) of the technical staff of Jamaica Energy Partners is a living testimony to their versatility of the programme. It is worthy of note that both programmes have received full accreditation from the University Council of Jamaica (UCJ).

In response to popular demand, CMI has launched five (5) B.Sc. degree programmes since September 2007/08 (listed hereunder) and is currently poised to launch a M.Sc. degree programme come March 2008, in collaboration with the Cyprus International Institute of Management (CIIM).

  • Logistics and Supply Chain Management

  • Cruise Shipping and Tourism Management

  • Port Management

  • International Shipping

  • Industrial Systems, Operations and Maintenance

  • Security Administration and Management (launched 2009)

Our plan is to install a new distance education system and we are open to partnership with various Caribbean countries, school and universities for the delivery of our programmes.

Professional “School”
All maritime courses offered by the CMI accord with the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watch-keeping (STCW95) for seafarers. All IMO courses (listed hereunder) offered are specialised professional courses:

  • Officer in Charge of Navigational Watch – Phase I, II, & III

  • Officer in Charge of Engine Room Watch - Phase I, II, & III

In the Caribbean, over ninety percent (90%) of its seafarers do not meet the stringent requirements of the STCW95 to function as certified seafarers. CMI has assumed the responsibility to train and certify the seafarers, raising at the same time, their competency and effectiveness in the industry.

Pursuant to this responsibility, the CMI offers pre-STCW training programmes to bring them into the pre-sea level, and help to certify their experiences. These courses are of special great value to the Eastern Caribbean territories in the operation of their offshore fleet fishing and schooner services.

We note that Jamaica in 2000 was listed among 72 countries on the IMO’s “white list” of nations complying with STCW95.

Technical/Vocational “School”
The technical and vocational programmes are the “cash cow” of the Institute. In no other “school” of the Institute are the services in the CMI more demand-driven than in the technical and vocational training programme.

From time to time requests have been made to CMI by light and power generating companies, manufacturing enterprises and even by the distributive trade for consultancy in areas of safety, industrial fire fighting, occupational, health and safety, environmental pollution control etcetera.

The CMI offers a range of short and customised courses for industries in refrigeration, machine shop technology, engine, electrical and electronic repairs, welding, workmanship practices and bench work operations. To support its diverse programmes, the Institute boasts a full range of state of the art facilities including Diesel Engine Simulator, Digitran Crane Simulator (fully equipped to train prospective crane operators and to upgrade the skills of those already in the industry), four storey highly computerised simulated bridge, Full Mission Navi-trainer 4000 Navigational Bridge (first of its kind in the Caribbean), comprising of an Engine Simulator, Liquid Cargo Handling Simulator, Global Maritime Distress Safety System (GMDSS). The Institute possesses fire fighting simulators and 4000 square feet of workshop and laboratories amongst other facilities.

Officer Training
The training hierarchy below illustrates the extensive training required to become a qualified officer. The entire process to become a Chief Marine Engineer or Captain can be done in 7 years, but individuals will start earning from the second year.