We are currently witnessing a new industrial revolutions – with the exponential evolution of technological advances, jobs are disappearing and new jobs are emerging across all sectors. All of this was further accelerated with the development of the Covid-19 pandemic, which drove many professions into the digital sphere. This did not leave the transport sector untouched. The conventional maritime careers of the the late twentieth century are evolving, and therefore it is important for the educational sector to keep pace with these changes to make sure that the future workforce is well prepared. This is why the work that is being done by the European YEP MED project is vital – the partners have been working together with the local professional and educational sectors in the participating countries to create custom-made training curricula that enable the students to experience realistic transport operations in a safe and controlled virtual environment.
The need for new technical skills brought by the new emerging technologies was highlighted by Capt. Anwar Buftain, the Team Leader Fleet Personal of the Kuwait Oil Tanker Company, which is reproduced below.
Post-Pandemic Virtual World
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented changes in the way we are doing business, leaving hundreds of thousands of employees working from their homes and thus redefining the concept of “distance”. Seafarers faced unprecedented worldwide lockdown and severe travel restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This crisis has taught us that things can go horribly and unexpectedly wrong at times, Keep learning something new, keep enhancing your skills. You never know what might help in times of crisis.
In the Digital Era, where our life relies on digital products much more than in previous decades, digital activities have been helping us in many fields, ranging from daily life to scientific research and from automated production to school learning. The technology development accelerates, emerges, and touches everyone, us as individuals, consumers, ship owners, and operators, regulators, policymakers, and the public as all. We have witnessed this transmission and sensed the short period of time required for transiting new developments into mature technologies. Lloyd’s Register, reported in Global Marine Trends 2030 (GMT 2030) the extensive technology revolution, how it will play out differently in commercial shipping, naval, and ocean space sectors.
After examining more than 56 critical technologies that might be developed and implemented in 2030 and selected 18 technologies for further studies. In this new reality, the interrelationship between technologies and sectors became crucial. Commercial Shipping in 2030 will have a significant impact on vessel system design and vessel operations. The competition will encourage technology sophistication and operational efficiency to gain commercial advantages by including propulsion and powering, shipbuilding, and smart ship. Maturing technology is ripe for transfer to vessel system design and operation to enhance safety as well as financial and commercial performance, by the development of sensors, robotics, big data analytics, advanced materials, and communications. Where these eight technologies are connected to each other.
The question here, Is our seafarers ready to face these expectations, new challenges, and technologies! We believe that our seafarers should develop more skills than non-technical soft skills like communication skills, leadership, team management, critical thinking, and emotional intelligence.
A basic understanding of computers became a must, demonstrate understandings of hardware and software, and intermediate to advanced computer skills are commonly desired. Significant skills are required due to job roles changes by 2030, with a systematic assessment, Seafarers should have new significant technical skills, for instance, interacting with robotics like fire fighting robotics. Demonstrate technical skills to cope with developed wireless communications like electromagnetic waves, the congestion of shared spectra, and the use of the allocated spectral band, high order modulation, and pulse shaping. Technical skills related to wireless sensor technology and the new generation of micro- and nano mechanical sensors for monitoring data. And understanding of smart ships new technologies and operating procedures.
* This article first appeared in the Arab Mariner Specialized Maritime Newsletter – Issue No. 7, Winter 2021