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Challenges to prepare seafarers for shipping’s decarbonization

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a Recent research Shedding light on the importance of seafarer training to advance the decarbonization of shipping, DNV analyzes the challenges in providing such training.

B.Other maritime academies and maritime education and training providers typically offer training in line with applicable IMO model courses to ensure compliance with STCW requirements.

Such training up to a Certificate of Proficiency (CoC) or Certificate of Proficiency (CoP) must be approved by the flag government. CoPs are only issued by Flag States upon application from candidates.

However, challenges remain.

#1 Lack of regulatory development makes it difficult to invest in seafarer training

Developing new training courses is expensive and maritime experts say they are not initiated ahead of demand from regulators and industry. It is considered important to give the STCW revision a high priority in order to allow time for the industry to develop the necessary training courses. A literature review also demonstrates that it takes years to introduce new training programs, and points out that governments can facilitate training development through appropriate policies and necessary funding.

#2 Need to invest in training facilities and state-of-the-art equipment

According to the literature, important aspects of training include exposing seafarers to techniques that reflect real-world scenarios, especially to enhance safety training. Such simulation techniques enable learning of navigational skills, ship reactions, and behavior in a risk-free environment. In fact, several interviewees cite the importance of having training experience the same skills seafarers learn on board. In this regard, it was emphasized that the practical application of engines, bridges and automation systems should form an integral part of seafarer training.

Additionally, industry experts emphasized the importance of having simulators and engine/automation replicas available in training centers and schools to provide opportunities for hands-on learning experiences.

It was also noted that the use of virtual reality/augmented reality tools and techniques such as simulator-based learning can facilitate digital skills development. Several interviewees noted that some parts of the industry may need to upgrade their training facilities with real replicas of engine rooms, automation systems, simulators and virtual/augmented reality tools. Dozens of participants emphasized that more high-tech training facilities will be needed to train sailors in the coming decades.

#3 Presence of competent trainers

Securing instructors with the necessary competencies was described by several interviewees as a major challenge. “There will be a shortage of seafarers and the manpower to train them,” said one interviewee. This was further echoed by workshop participants, who emphasized that “finding a training educator with real nautical experience can be a training constraint.”

The number of instructors with the knowledge and experience of ships using modern automation systems and new fuels is expected to be small, which can be a constraint if a large number of crews require training. Several interviewees also emphasized the need for highly qualified instructors to meet the increased demand for future training.

The shortage of qualified maritime instructors is also reflected in the relevant literature and was cited as a common challenge in a survey conducted by the Maritime Insights Database.

Some scholars also point out that the lack of qualified instructors is affecting the quality of maritime education and training delivery. This requires investment in training and professional development of instructors and trainers, and instructor development. In addition, EU SkillSea research found that the demand for professional education requires training institutions to invest more in developing knowledge units, thereby increasing organizational complexity.

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