The UAE Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure has signed a partnership agreement with the Arab Academy for Science Technology and Maritime Transport (AASTS) branch in Sharjah, to utilise its capabilities and the expertise 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, a report said.
The agreement was signed by Hassan Mohammed Juma Al Mansouri, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, and Dr Ismail Abdel Ghaffar Ismail Faraj, President of the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport.
Al Mansouri 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. More than 20,000 maritime establishments and companies operate in the UAE. Our ports receive over 12 million containers annually, supporting the economic growth in the UAE and other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. Thus, boosting maritime investments, which are valued at $65 billion, annually."
Al Mansouri added: "This vision cannot be achieved without qualified and creative professionals, who are capable of using this opportunity to build on the achievements our founding fathers, under the flag of the Union. Our leaders transformed challenges into success and unparalleled prosperity and our partnership with the academy supports this vision."
Enhancing the economic capabilities Dr Faraj emphasised: "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."
Dr Faraj added: "Our partnership with the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, which includes the ministry’s accreditation of our training and academic programmes, will make the academy the maritime academic arm that serves the UAE’s maritime agenda and contributes to implementing the country’s strategic plans."
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. 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."
Shawky added: "We aim to create awareness among all members of the society about the importance of the maritime sector, also emphasising the critical role of Emirati seamen. This endeavour will ensure that the younger generations are encouraged to follow in the footsteps of their forefathers, who left behind a rich legacy that extended from East Africa to the farthest islands of the China Sea."
Developing maritime training commenting on the cooperation, Dr Captain Ahmed Youssef, Associate Dean of the Maritime Transport Technology College, AASTS clarified: "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."
Apart from its other achievements, AASTS is also known for having the highest percentage of female students among maritime academies in the Middle East and North Africa. Enrolled female students account for more than 43 per cent of the total number of students.