IAMU Hai Phong Statement
The 17th Annual General Assembly
Hai Phong, Viet Nam, October 28, 2016
Various proponents, including Dr Yohei Sasakawa, Chair of the Nippon Foundation, have articulated a need for more highly trained seafaring officers for the advanced ships of today and the future. The education of seafaring officers is transitioning from a previously vocational based training approach to a broader education. IAMU has formed a Working Group to investigate future curricula for degrees for seafaring officers who are able to cope with extremely large and fast vessels; more and more complex cargo vessels; huge cruise vessels; high risk vessels; and high speed craft.
Into the future we have to educate seafaring officers for potential developments such as more and more automation leading in a step by step way to remotely operated and then autonomous systems as well as autonomous ships. The ships of the future will be very different from the ships of today.
At the Presidents’ Forum at the AGA 17 in Hai Phong, the following points were raised in a discussion on this topic:
- Different institutions may have a different focus for their graduates, e.g. coastal, inland or ocean seafaring.
- The curricula should be a model, not mandatory and should not be enforced. It should be open for adoption by institutions as needed and as a guide. It should also provide an education for a transition to a shore-based career after a seafaring career.
- In engineering, accreditation is done to the Washington Accord agreement through organizations such as ABET and CEAB. These used to prescribe curricula, but now use an approach to accreditation based on Graduate and Learning Outcomes.
- The common base is the STCW requirements, but additions are needed such as leadership. Seafarers need to be technically competent, they are not simple operators; they operate the largest human made moving structures on the earth.
- In learning theories, focus needs to be given to appropriate assessment criteria.
- It is difficult to have a common curricula, but it may assist to ask several institutions to submit their curricula and for the WG to make an evaluation leading to a set of “common best practices”.
- There is a need for appropriate leadership training. There is also a benefit for equivalent units between institutions to enable the transitioning of students from one institution to another as part of exchange programs.
- The threat of automation may lead some seafarers to worry that their jobs may be lost, but there is a need for future mariners to be educated also in automation so as their skill sets retain validity as the industry develops.
- Future model curricula should not be prescriptive, but be used as a guide for universities to adopt for their own needs.
- Degrees for seafaring officers should include educational outcomes well above and beyond the minimum requirements of the STCW in order to prepare future seafarers for a rapidly changing industry.
- Degrees for seafaring officers should also provide a preparation for those seafarers who wish to transition to shore-based careers beyond their service at sea.