The Arab Academy for Science Technology and Maritime Transport branch in Sharjah (AASTS) has signed a partnership agreement with the UAE Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure to utilise AASTS’ capabilities and the expertise of its staff to serve and develop the UAE’s maritime sector.
The agreement supports AASTS’ vision to enhance the Arab maritime sector by preparing the nation’s youth to be competent industry professionals, while also providing research and development services. The move also supports AASTS’ mission to cement the UAE’s position as a leading global maritime hub.
The agreement was signed by H.E. Hassan Mohammed Juma Al Mansouri, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure in the UAE and H.E. Dr. Ismail Abdel Ghaffar Ismail Faraj, President of the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport.
H.E. Hassan Mohammed Juma Al Mansouri, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure in the UAE, said: “In the UAE, we are determined to be ‘Number One’ in all areas and aim to become a unique example in sustainable development, ensuring the prosperity and wellbeing of the current and future generations in the post-oil era. This is the essence of the UAE’s strategy as we prepare for the next fifty years. The maritime economy and the maritime sector are key pillars to achieve this vision. Over 20,000 maritime establishments and companies operate in the UAE. This figure is the largest in the region. Our ports receive over 12 million containers annually, supporting the economic growth in the UAE and other GCC countries. Thus, boosting maritime investments, which are valued at US$65 billion, annually.”
Enhancing the economic capabilities
H.E. Dr. Ismail Abdel Ghaffar Ismail Farag, President of the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport emphasised: “As an organisation associated with the Arab League, we are mandated to build partnerships that develop the economic capabilities of all Arab countries. However, our relationship with the UAE is a special one. We have received unlimited support from the UAE’s leadership to empower and develop the maritime sector. This has been evident since the establishment of the Academy’s branch in Sharjah, which is the largest of all our branches and is comparable in size and capabilities to our headquarters in Alexandria. Generous scholarships and state-of-the-art facilities that have been allocated to the Academy in Sharjah make it on a par with some of the best international universities and maritime academies.”
Enabling a digital era
Prof. Dr. Hossam Shawky, Acting Director of the Academy's Branch in Sharjah highlighted: “The UAE has made great strides in digitalising its maritime infrastructure. Its ports are listed among some of the most technologically advance worldwide. Most shipping companies here are equipped with state-of-the-art digital platforms. We can say that the UAE’s digital capabilities are on par with some of the biggest programming and e-solution companies and even outperform them with their practical applications. As the demand for technology-enabled solutions is increasing with the changing times, there is an urgent need to provide the maritime sector with young cybersecurity experts to enhance the protection of digital maritime assets. This will foster the UAE’s leading status, making it a global provider of a vital service whose demand is increasing rapidly.”
Developing maritime training
Commenting on the cooperation between the Academy and the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure in maritime education and training, Dr. Captain Ahmed Youssef, Associate Dean of the Maritime Transport Technology College, AASTS clarified: “Maritime education is different from other theoretical specialisations as it totally depends on the practical aspect. This is the biggest challenge several maritime academies around the globe face considering the high costs of training vessels. This agreement is especially valuable as the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure will provide full support to facilitate the training of our students on ships operating in the UAE. This will give the Academy a competitive edge, making our national graduates better qualified as they will be equipped with hands-on experience of working on ships of various types and sizes."