The Philippines and Indonesia, home to nearly 21% of the world’s crew members, are taking steps to help their seafarers develop modern skills as shipping decarbonizes.
With the world’s 252,392 seafarers, 13.3% of the world’s crew, calling the Philippines home, the country is taking steps to transition its training systems to a low and zero carbon society. The country worked on it the tripartite International Advisory Committee on Global Maritime Affairs (IACGMA) started in January 2023.
One of the main objectives of the IACGMA is to contribute to the provision of adequate training for the country’s seafarers in accordance with the Convention on Standards for Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW). The IACGMA will also address concerns about ambulance tracking and unfair labor practices, as well as issues related to Filipino seafarers’ employability abroad;
“Filipino seafarers have long pioneered maritime trade and we hope to continue this tradition as we move toward low-carbon horizons. While this transition is certainly a challenge for the maritime sector as a whole, there are certainly opportunities for early movers to seize and we hope our efforts will bear fruit for our seafarers, giving them access to quality jobs and long careers.” Sonia B Malaluansaid the Deputy Administrator for Planning at the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) of the Philippines.
Indonesia is also making progress in upskilling its maritime workforce in line with the new needs of the sector through its “Skills for Prosperity program in Indonesia, published by the International Labor Organization (ILO). The country where about 7.6% live (143,702) of the world’s seafarers, is modernizing its training system through international partnerships that share both knowledge and best practices.
The UK-funded program involves the establishment of an Industry Advisory Board for each of the four participating Indonesian universities of applied sciences. This structure aims to encourage closer collaboration between education and industry and to provide graduates with a clear progression into skilled employment.
“The partnerships from the Skills for Partnerships program create good employment opportunities in the maritime sector, which will lead to greater socio-economic benefits across the region. We look forward to sharing lessons learned from this program so other regions can make informed decisions about how best to prepare their future maritime workforce.” mary kentsaid the ILO’s chief technical adviser.
Maritime operations of the future are likely to be significantly more complex as new fuels and technologies are used in an increasingly digital and automated work environment – a fact likely to influence the forthcoming review of standards for seafarers’ training, certification and watchkeeping (STCW ) convention and code.
According to a recent study by DNV, by the mid-2030s, 800,000 seafarers will need additional training to handle the fuels, technologies and ships of the future.
As the skills required for a career at sea continue to evolve, it becomes imperative to prioritize the provision of appropriate education and training. This will ensure that future generations of seafarers are equipped, competent and prepared to deal with the new technologies and fuels that will increasingly be used in the coming years. With a strong maritime workforce, countries need to keep pace with the evolving demands of industry and enable a smooth transition to a low and carbon future that benefits all stakeholders.
“While the actions of the Philippine and Indonesian authorities are admirable, there is still work to be done if we are to adequately empower the global seafarers of the future. “Improving the training environment is a very needed first step – especially given the concerns about STCW compliance and proficiency.” Fabrizio Barcelonasaid the coordinator of the seafarers and inland navigation department at the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF).
“This must be followed by an upgrade to a new, modern and coordinated apprenticeship and cadetship model with high-quality, durable programs supported by shipowners, unions and government.” Cooperation between these groups of stakeholders is essential to achieve a to bring about a just maritime transition and to secure its position as a global leader in seafaring for the long term.”
Bringing together stakeholders such as governments, shipowners, unions, training institutions and more is crucial, he said Sturla HenriksenSpecial Advisor on Oceans, UN Global Compact.
“Decarbonising shipping is essential to tackling the climate crisis and it is heartening to see hubs for seafarers across Asia Africa Take action to equip their employees with the skills for future green operations. The global nature of this development means that no one is alone in tackling this issue and the Maritime Just Transition Task Force, funded primarily by the Lloyd’s Register Foundation, aims to provide resources to support stakeholders on this journey.” he says.
A new effort is expected to be launched in July 2023 as part of Phase 2 of the Maritime Just Transition Taskforce to create a framework for training seafarers on decarbonisation with relevant training materials for seafarers and maritime education and training providers.
“The fight against climate change requires action across the maritime domain, both in offices on land and on ships at sea. We know that seafarers want to do their part to make shipping operations greener and this framework, along with some of the free online courses developed by IMO, can help increase crew’s knowledge of how their day-to-day operations impact the environment .” Arsenio Dominguez, said the IMO Director of the Marine Environment Department.