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Ships Automation Calls for Modification to Educational Models

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By Sameh K Rashed 11-23-2019 03:30:00

The beginning of the 21st century has seen significant technological development in all industries including the shipping industry. This development has been primarily driven by digitalization arising from progressions in information and communication technology. The world has been deeply affected by a rather rapid transition into a fourth industrial revolution include what so-called “smart technology.” The shipping industry has not been left out of the effects of this disruptive phenomenon.

In the shipping industry the concepts of fully-autonomous ships, transactions and contractual arrangements via blockchain technology and educational technology are expected to be mainstream in a comparatively short time. Even on traditional ships now a days there will be an increasing tendency to have “automated functions.” However, the traditional seafaring skills will disappear completely in the next 20 to 30 years, and the required skills needed for individual jobs will change as a result.

This alteration requires a proactive reaction from education providers (maritime academies and/or maritime institutes), particularly given the time lag between educational planning and the real evolving out of a skilled maritime human element. Those involved are in need of new skills and changes in maritime educational models, both with respect to the skills needed for a new era of technological industry and the impact of technological disruption on maritime education.

Maritime education and training institutes have to initiate strategic directions and plans of adaptation and in some cases an ultimate model shift for how they introduce their services to the international maritime community, also the educational fields, objectives and programs that support the offering of those services. The new models of education required “shore-based experts” maybe from other activities to teach new contestants and occasionally operate these new vessels.

The maritime education and training of latter 21st century may need significant intervention from experts external to the existing known shipping industry, and the programs for specific operations may require substantial review to meet the needs of a new kind of “seafarer” for complying with the new era of fully automated ships.

Dr. Capt. Sameh K Rashed teaches at the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport Maritime Postgraduate Institute -MPI. 

The opinions expressed herein are the author's and not necessarily those of The Maritime Executive.