In the context of promoting the maritime and seafaring professions all over the world, today I launched the IMO Maritime Ambassador Scheme at IMO Headquarters.
At a reception after the Sub-Committee on Ship Design and Construction, I spoke to delegates about the need to promote a full range of maritime subjects, such as naval architecture, marine engineering, maritime law and so on, as well as the attractions of a career in seafaring. I stressed how important it is to plant an understanding about the enticing prospects of a life in the maritime and seafaring professions in the minds of children and younger people, who have yet to decide on their future endeavours and career paths.
I mentioned about my own interests, stemming from my University days, in the truly challenging field of naval architecture. For me, this represents a fascinating combination of science and art in shipbuilding, covering hydrodynamics, material sciences, design and strength calculation, towing tank experiments, ship movement analysis, manoeuvrability and so on. Ship design in the future will offer a full range of challenges and opportunities in the fields of art and engineering, based on science and advanced technology.
It is pity to observe that the younger generations today seem to have lost interest in constructing these truly amazing, complex, man-made structures, capable of navigating the real oceans and coping with all the forces nature. Instead they seem increasingly attracted to information and communication technologies, thereby missing the wonderful opportunities to participate in real-world developments such as shipping and shipbuilding. Ships of the future will require young talent to explore futuristic designs and, in my view, naval architecture is a hugely attractive profession, especially when you weigh the current number of young naval architects against the future demand for ships designed to meet society’s increasingly stringent requirements for safety and environmental protection.
Turning specifically to seafaring; this can provide young generations not only with an opportunity to earn money to live and provide for their families, it also offers unique opportunities to navigate the seas of the globe and encounter the wonders of the ocean world. We must tell young people that they have the opportunity to experience a real world of natural adventure in the seas and oceans of our planet. Seafaring offers a wonderful opportunity to see the world and interact with people from all over the planet, experiencing the huge variety of mankind’s culture and heritage.
A successful seafaring career also holds the promise of a further rewarding career on land, after retiring from the sea. We have a wonderful world of professions to offer to younger generations but we need ambassadors to spread the word among young people about how rewarding the maritime and seafaring professions are and how fulfilling a life within them can be. We need to place these ideas in the hearts of the younger generation.
The idea of the IMO Maritime Ambassador Scheme has emerged from exploring the possibilities of concerted promotional activities among all IMO Member Governments and the industry.
Under the scheme, each IMO Member Government is invited to identify and appoint IMO Maritime Ambassadors in their own country. IMO will formally recognise these appointments and maintain a register of IMO Maritime Ambassadors. Each IMO Ambassador will carry out activities such as school visits, speaking to young people and children at various opportunities arranged with Governments. Through IMO, these promotional activities and experiences will be shared by other IMO Ambassadors in other countries. We may expect that, sometime at a later stage, IMO Ambassadors would gather at IMO and discuss how to further promote their outreach activities.
This scheme will be activated by a Circular Letter on the subject of the World Maritime Day celebration this year, to be issued shortly. I sincerely hope that Member Governments and industry organisations would support this scheme in the context of the theme of this year’s World Maritime Day theme, Maritime Education and Training, and of our annual Day of the Seafarer campaign.