The member countries of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and
the Pacific supply over 60% of the world's seafarers. Shipowners in the
ESCAP region need a steady supply of well qualified seafarers. At the
same time, seafarer supplying countries and maritime training institutes
need to know the kind of seafarers that would be valued by shipowners.
First Forum on Maritime Manpower Planning
In December 1999, ESCAP convened a Forum on Maritime Manpower Planning
(MMP) in Bangkok. The Forum brought together for the first time the key
stakeholders (governments, shipowners/managers, maritime training institutions)
with an interest in seafarer training and employment. It was attended
by over a 100 delegates from 16 member countries in the ESCAP region.
The Forum was also attended by the International Maritime Organization
and the International Labour Organization as well as the Asian Shipowners
Forum and the Norwegian Shipowners Association
The participants examined the current position with regard
to seafarer supply and demand, the strengths and weaknesses of seafarer
training in the ESCAP region, and the possible benefits from improved
networking arrangements between the stakeholders. All participants affirmed
the importance of a continuing dialogue and collaboration between governments,
shipowners/managers, maritime training institutes and seafarers associations
particularly with a view to improving networking and sharing of skills
and resources and opportunities for shipboard training through the joint
operation of training vessels and increasing the number of shipboard training
slots on commercial vessels. Participants recommended that such collaboration
should take place through UNESCAP.
Second Forum on Maritime Manpower Planning
A Second Regional Forum on Maritime Manpower Planning, Training, Utilization
and Networking of Centres of Excellence was convened in Bangkok in October
2003, to follow-up on the first forum and to further promote, strengthen
and facilitate collaboration in the maritime industry. The Forum is expected
to facilitate arrangements between shipowners and training institutes
as well as to strengthen links between training institutes of the region.
The Forum provided an exceptional opportunity for enhanced communication
between governments, shipowners and training institutes, as well as with
other stakeholders in the industry.
The main conclusions and recommendations of the Second
Forum included the importance of producing competent seafarers, in compliance
with STCW requirements and defined by ability from the perspective of
the shipowners. This can be facilitated by enhanced and intensified collaboration
between countries and between training institutes and between training
institutes and shipowners.
The Forum also suggested enhanced networking amongst
the Maritime Industry, at the national level and at the international
level. The UNESCAP initiative of creating a web based forum was appreciated
and it was decided that UNESCAP would also initiate an e-mail group where
every one can contribute and in this way keep abreast of developments.
Other ideas and opportunities that were put forward were
to exchange information on simulators and to create exchanges between
faculties of maritime training institutes. It was also suggested to investigate
the prospect of accessing shipboard training facilities wherever possible.
Suggestions were put forward to examine the possibilities of joint representation
at standard setting bodies and negotiations.
The Forum also formally launched the Computer Based Training
Programme "Be Safe Not Sorry"
on HIV Prevention for the Maritime Industry.
The Forum raised concerns about time consuming visa procedures
and the adverse effects on the industry. Participants noted the need to
search for long-term solutions to these and other issues with the WTO
and the ILO.