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IMO Secretary-General highlights importance in upskilling

Employment and skills challenges in the European maritime transport and services sector was discussed at the La Rochelle Maritime Symposium on 9 February 2022

Kitack Lim, the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Secretary-General, addressed the symposium with an overview of the current predicament of the maritime industry. He also stressed the need for the maritime industry to retain the human element, as it is a vital component that could affect the efficiency of supply chains.

People are at the centre of the maritime industry
According to Mr Lim, “Seafarers truly are at the core of shipping. Without them – shipping simply does not function. The challenges to employment and skills in the European maritime transport and services sector are shared globally.”

As a result of the pandemic, digital transformation has been advancing at a rapid rate. Therefore, it is of crucial importance that seafarers are trained and their skills are updated to adapt to evolving trends. To that end, the IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee will consider a comprehensive review on the Standards for training and certification of seafarers, which will be targeted at sustainability issues and keeping abreast of new technologies.

Mr Lim also cited the need for seafarers to upgrade their skills to maintain their competitive edge even while digital transformation is happening, “The maritime professionals must be trained to the high level of skills needed for this transition. Addressing employment and skills gaps requires concerted and collaborative efforts. The maritime professional of the future will need new and different skills than in the past. We must rise to the challenge and create that workforce that will operate the green ships of the future safely, and securely.”

International Maritime Organization


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