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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
 
world.
 
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
 

Postal Address:

The Nautical Institute Hong Kong Branch
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2604 Tung Chiu Commercial Centre
193 Lockhart Road
Wan Chai, Hong Kong - S.A.R  P.R. China
Copyright ©2000 - 2019 The Nautical Institute Hong Kong Branch
updated
10 July 2019
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