Maritime education and training needs – now and in the future – were the focus of a high-level international symposium held during the 2015 World Maritime Day Parallel Event, hosted in Japan’s port city of Yokohama and its capital Tokyo this week. The event was held in conjunction with Japan’s Marine Day, which is a national holiday.
The opening session, held in Tokyo, was attended by Shinzō Abe, the Prime Minister of Japan, and addressed by Akihiro Ohta, Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, Japan.
The two-day event on Monday and Tuesday was attended by some 400 representatives from the maritime community in Japan and other countries, including government representatives and representatives from the maritime industry, non-governmental organisations and academia. Sessions on the first day of the event addressed: maritime human resources today; human resources related to the seas and the oceans; education for future generations; and next steps in education and training.
In his opening speech, IMO Secretary-General Koji Sekimizu stressed the importance of quality training and education for the world’s future seafarers and highlighted the need to attract young people to maritime professions.
On the second day, delegates visited maritime heritage sights in Yokohama and witnessed seafarer training demonstrations on the sail training ship Kaiwo Maru and the training ship Taisei Maru.
This was followed by a special session addressing the future needs of the industry, which aimed to discuss how educational organisations could go about educating and training high quality maritime human resources, which are necessary for quality shipping and how they could attract the interest of future generations towards the seas and the oceans.
A final session focused on the possibilities of utilising maritime heritage and outreach programmes to attract future recruits to the seafaring and maritime professions.
Closing the event, Mr Sekimizu paid tribute to the organisers and remarked on the presence of many young people who were themselves in the early stages of their maritime careers: “I again congratulate the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism as the host and organizer of this event,” he said.
“This year has set a new standard for World Maritime Day Parallel Events, and I am very happy that organisers of future events such as the Islamic Republic of Iran, South Africa and of course Turkey are here to witness it. I was also very heartened to see so many cadets training for maritime careers attending these events in their uniforms. I hope that IMO Member States will also send their cadets to the celebration of World Maritime Day in London in September. We have many wonderful events planned, including two events for children, one for young children and another for older children about to make a career choice, as well as a symposium that will follow on to this one. The cadets would be most welcome at all these.”
Participants in the event supported, by acclamation, the Yokohama Declaration, a document that outlines a blueprint for the enhancement and strengthening of global maritime education and training in the context of increasing demand for shipping and seafarers in the years ahead. Among other provisions, it encourages holistic, multi-disciplinary education and training across several maritime-related disciplines, calls for IMO’s technical and legislative cooperation for developing countries to focus on strengthening capacity to effectively and efficiently implement IMO conventions, and refers to the need for greater public, political and financial support for maritime education and training.
During the closing ceremony, a commemorative plaque was presented to Japan by IMO Secretary-General Sekimizu and the World Maritime Day Parallel Event flag was handed over by Akihiro Nishimura, State Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, Japan to Özkan Poyraz, Undersecretary, Republic of Turkey Ministry of Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communications. Turkey will host the 2016 parallel event.
During the second day of the parallel event, IMO Secretary-General handed over certificates to the newly-appointed IMO Maritime Ambassadors from Japan: Captain Shigeru Kojima, President of the Japan Captains’ Association (JCA); and Captain Yoshikazu Kamikubo, a former seafarer, who is currently an adviser to Tabuchi Kaiun Co.
Congratulating them on their appointment, Mr Sekimizu wished them every success in carrying out activities which would enthuse young people and promote careers at sea and in the maritime professions.