A maritime training facility planted with lettuce and pineapples? It may sound faddish and even wacky. But Filipino-owned COMPASS Training Center Inc, together with its partners, is pushing the concept in a bold effort to promote environmental awareness and re-invent seafarer training in the process.
Portions of the 8-hectare COMPASS training complex in Silang, Cavite province south of Manila have been transformed into delightful patches of pineapples and tropical vegetables. Plans are afoot to expand the greening project to cover some 6,000 sq. meters. CNERGY International, a sister firm of COMPASS, is spearheading the mixed-used development of the complex. This would include a leisure area in the still undeveloped four hectares so that seafarers’ families can relax and have fun whilst the men undergo training.
Even the training lagoon (right) is surrounded by pineapple plants
It’s a marriage of “hard-core training and the environment.” says COMPASS president Dakila (“Daks”) Villanueva. Although the facility sits on hilly terrain with lush vegetation, the vegetable gardens would create a more conducive setting for training. Trainees could also buy the produce at below-market prices. “Some seafarers might even decide to go into farming,” Villanueva muses.
COMPASS is taking the environment so seriously that its facility for basic and advanced firefighting may well be the first of its kind in the Philippines. Made up of shipping containers arranged like Lego bricks, the firehouse will have an air filtering system to reduce harmful gas emissions. In addition, COMPASS is constructing a four-stage oil treatment plant nearby and has already talked to a third-party buyer for the used oil. It’s all part of a whole new culture the company wants to propagate.
An innovative approach to firefighting training
Part of oil treatment plant under construction
It comes as no surprise that COMPASS is doing more than just pay lip service to the environment. COMPASS is arguably the country’s most forward-looking maritime training organisation — both in terms of corporate philosophy and the actual implementation of it. Its major stockholders also happen to be active or retired ship officers, which makes it a workers’ cooperative that stands apart from the rest. The greening of the Silang training complex is clear proof of what enlightened and enterprising seafarers can achieve. ~Barista Uno
CLARIFICATORY NOTE: Development of the Silang training complex is an initiative of CNERGY International designed to benefit its sister companies, COMPASS Training Center Inc and IMOSTI (International Maritime & Offshore Safety Training Institute).