The West

The French have entered into a unique joint venture with Aboriginal seafarers that will give them six-figure job opportunities in WA’s booming oil and gas industry.

An alliance formalised yesterday provides Aboriginal Marine Services, and its subsidiary iMarine, a contract to man transfer vessels owned by the French maritime group Bourbon.

Sonya Liddle, the general manager of AMS, which is advised by Azure Capital, said the first crew vessel to be manned under the agreement would ferry workers from the North West to offshore oil rigs in the North West.

Bourbon’s presence in subsea and offshore exploration in more than 40 countries would eventually give the indigenous workers the opportunity to travel the high seas all over the world.

“Often helicopters are used to transport workers to rigs, but crew transfer on vessels is safer and a lot more economical,” Mrs Liddle said.

Mrs Liddle said 20 indigenous workers, most who were long-term unemployed, had gone through training for entry level positions as deckhands on the crew vessels. , which earned six-figure salaries.

But the intention was to train up to 72 indigenous workers annually for a range of positions, including captain, which commanded lucrative salaries of about $250,000 a year.

Mrs Liddle while many people did not associate Aboriginal people with seafaring, the industry was well suited to the indigenous culture.

“The sea is a very big part of the indigenous communities, with their traditional involvement in fishing and crayfishing,” she said

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