Through the millennia, shipping has united the world by carrying the goods and commodities that underpin the global economy. Today, shipping is a modern, highly technical, professional discipline that requires a great deal of skill, knowledge and expertise from the maritime workforce. The mariner of today cannot learn the skills required for success simply through work experience or learning on-the-job. A safe, secure and clean shipping industry can only be built on effective standards of education and training, which is the theme for this year’s World Maritime Day.
The International Maritime Organization (IMO), the UN specialized agency for maritime safety and environmental protection, has a long and wide-ranging involvement in maritime education and training.
The basic requirements for seafarer training, certification and watch-keeping on an international level are contained in an IMO convention known as the STCW Convention. In addition model courses and a capacity-building framework, through affiliated educational institutions — the World Maritime University (WMU) and the IMO International Maritime Law Institute (IMLI) — help maintain a flow of high-level managers, policymakers and other key personnel into the maritime professions and maritime administrations.
Looking ahead, the human element in shipping will be increasingly important as the industry moves towards ever higher standards of safety, environmental impact and sustainability, and seeks to do its part to implement the new Sustainable Development Goals.
All of which makes the importance of training for the ships’ crews of today and the seafarers of tomorrow greater than ever before. Maritime education holds the future of shipping in its hands.