Speakers at Unlocking Green Maritime Jobs panel-discussion (3-5th May 2023) outlined the growing demand for seafarers able to handle low and zero-carbon fuels and new technologies that will be needed in order to progress towards a decarbonized maritime shipping sector by 2050.
he Unlocking Green Maritime Jobs panel discussion was part of the IMO Conference on Low Carbon Shipping that was held on the sidelines of the 6th Association of African Maritime Administrations Conference and General Assembly.
As the maritime industry transitions to a low and zero-carbon future, African policymakers are being advised to implement training infrastructure to maximize ‘high-quality’ employment opportunities for African workers and facilitate the continent’s green transition.
We now need governments to come to the IMO this summer and align to the 1.5ºC of the Paris Agreement. This will create the market certainty to unlock the investments in seafarer training and skills today to support high-quality, decent green maritime jobs of the future – including in Africa
… said Sturla Henriksen, Special Advisor, Ocean, UN Global Compact
Africa is well positioned to be a green seafarer hub, explains South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) Occupational Health & Safety and Maritime Welfare Manager, Sibusiso Rantsoabe.
There is currently unprecedented demand for African seafarers and the urgent need to decarbonize creates further opportunities for our workers, who have already demonstrated their excellence in a global setting
… added Sibusiso Rantsoabe
Initiatives already in place:
- The National Seafarer Development Programme (NSDP), run by the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI), is a regional effort that is empowering the deck, engine room and fishing crew of the future and creating good jobs for workers.
- SAIMI and the International Maritime Employers Council (IMEC) are also due to launch an IMEC South African cadet training programme this year, with the first group of 50 cadets starting this month.
As a potential major seafarer supply continent, developing the talent of African seafarers offers us a pathway to delivering a greener future for shipping and the wider maritime world.
… said Francesco Gargiulo, CEO, IMEC
As one of the world’s biggest growth markets with 1.3 billion people and a combined GDP of $3.5 trillion dollars, Africa could reap some of the rewards of shipping’s green transition.
The sooner that we begin investing in green skills, the more likely it is that we can crew the low emission vessels of tomorrow. The future of green shipping in the region must involve high skill, high quality jobs for African seafarers.
… said International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) Africa Regional Secretary, Mohammed Dauda Safiyanu
Mohammed Dauda Safiyanu also pointed out that as part of a Just Transition, these jobs must be decent, which includes meeting the highest health and safety standards. They should also be fairly-paid, bringing economic benefits to the region and thereby improving parity between the global north and the global south.
Another advantage of setting up green seafarer training initiatives as early as possible is to minimize risk and human error when transitioning to new fuels and technologies, explained ICS Senior Manager Policy and Employment Affairs, Helio Vicente. He firmly believes that technology must evolve in step with seafarer skills so that the shift to a greener future is done as safely and efficiently as possible, minimizing risk along the supply chain.
Just Transition Task Force
The Maritime Just Transition Task Force, which is primarily funded by Lloyd’s Register Foundation, believes that by working together, governments, policy makers, ship owners and operators, seafarers’ unions, and other stakeholders, will maximize the likelihood of a Just Transition.
In an exclusive interview with SAFETY4SEA, Martha Selwyn, who currently serves as Manager at the United Nations Global Compact and oversees work on the social-climate nexus with the Maritime Just Transition Task Force, outlined why this initiative is an unprecedented international collaboration, establishing a framework supported by social dialogue and stakeholder engagement.
The Task Force, which recently highlighted opportunities for African seafarers at an event in Ghana, has also published a 10 point action plan to achieve a Just Transition for seafarers in its ‘Mapping a Maritime Just Transition for Seafarers’ position paper.
10-point Action Plan to Achieve a Just Transition for Seafarers:
- Global labour standards
- Gender and diversity
- Health and safety
- Establish consensus to unlock training
- Support seafarer career pathways
- Address attrition and recruitment
- Investing in skills
- Strengthening global training standards
- Delivering fair training
- Monitoring skills