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Speech for the Nautical Institute Seminar –
Competencies of a Future Mariner on 23 Oct 2015

Chairman Captain MALHOTRA, distinguished guests, ladies and
gentlemen, good morning.

I am the new Director of Marine of the Hong Kong Government.
I took up the post last month, you can tell how pleased I am to be able
to meet you all and speak in this Seminar within such a short time.
On behalf of the Marine Department, I wish to extend a very warm
welcome to all of you who are attending this seminar here. First,
allow me to congratulate the Hong Kong Branch of the Nautical
Institute on its success in organising this meaningful event. To the
Committee members of the Hong Kong Branch, I would like to say
the efforts you have put in the pursuit of professionalism and your
contributions to the work of the Institute and the maritime community
are greatly appreciated.
Shipping is perhaps one the earliest industries with globalisation
perspective. Maritime transport is indispensable to the world’s
economy as over 90% of the world’s trade products are carried by sea
and it is, by far, the most cost-effective way to move large quantity of
goods and raw materials around the world.
Safety of life at sea and the protection of marine environment
not only rely on safe and sound ships but most importantly, the
professionalism and competence of seafarers. Though we are all
aware of that, maritime accidents still occur from time to time leading
to tragic loss of lives and property. According to statistics, 80% of
the accidents involve human error. Human error in fact can be
reduced by the provision of adequate training for seafarers by
equipping them with the necessary competence to meet the demand of
the industry.
Hong Kong has a long-established history in the international
maritime sector and is also home to a strong cluster of shipowners
who own and manage about 9% of the world's merchant fleet. With
the support of Hong Kong shipowners, the Hong Kong Shipping
Register has recorded a continuous upward trend and is ranked
number four in the world with a total gross tonnage of over 100
million. At present there are about 50 000 seafarers of different
nationalities serving on board Hong Kong-registered sea-going ships.
The success of our maritime industry is largely attributable to a
strong pool of maritime professionals, many of whom possess
sea-going experience. To enhance the supply of local qualified
personnel with sea-going experience to join the maritime industry and
to develop home-grown maritime professionals, the Hong Kong
Government, with the full support of the Hong Kong Maritime
Industry Council, launched the Sea-going Training Incentive Scheme
in 2004. The Scheme involves collaboration between the
Government and the maritime industry. The Government provides
financial incentive to attract youngsters to join the sea-going career
while the industry offers training opportunities for them to work on
ships. Apart from training, the industry, including the learned and
professional parties, has also partnered with the Government to
publicise the maritime industry and the promising opportunities it
offers, targeting at the general public, students from institutions of the
Vocational Training Council, local universities and secondary schools.
In June 2010, a diplomatic conference in Manila adopted a set of
far-reaching and comprehensive amendments to the 1978
International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and
Watchkeeping for Seafarers, which is commonly known as the Manila
amendments to the STCW Convention. The Manila amendments,
marking a major revision of the STCW Convention, were adopted in
June 2010 and set to commence as from January 2012 with all
requirements to be enforced by January 2017. Moreover, the STCW
Convention will soon be further amended to include requirements for
sea service, certification and minimum standards of training for deck
officers and masters serving on vessels operating in polar waters.
The revised STCW Convention and the above proposed amendment
aim to set international standards essential for training institutes and
trainers to develop the much-needed skills and competencies for
seafarers to meet the future challenges of the shipping industry.
The Marine Department has incorporated all the STCW 2010
requirements into the syllabus of the examinations. We also work with
local maritime institutions to organise courses and training to
facilitate seafarers to meet the new training requirements.
The Marine Department endeavours to ensure that the
competencies of seafarers of Hong Kong registered ships are in
compliance with convention requirements which encompass various
aspects of safety and training standards for all seafarers on board
Hong Kong registered ships. We strive to work with our stakeholders
to promote excellent maritime services and to maintain the quality
standard of Hong Kong ships as one of the reputable fleets in the
Ladies and gentlemen, I wish you all a fruitful day on board this
beautiful passenger ship and hope you will enjoy all the programs
meticulously arranged by the organiser.
Thank you

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Wan Chai, Hong Kong - S.A.R  P.R. China
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10 April 2024
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