Norwegian Ambassador Attended International Maritime Conference in the Philippines

Norwegian Ambassador, Stale Torstein Risa was a keynote speaker of the the two-day International Maritime Conference hosted by John B. Lacson Foundation Maritime University (JLFMU) in the Philippines which started on January 29, 2008 to stress the importance of quality-based maritime education and training to meet the demands of the global shipping industry.
The conference which was attended by various stakeholders in the shipping industry was held at the JLFMU Arevalo Campus and carried the theme: “Sharing best practices in maritime education and training to meet world shipping needs.”
Risa noted that most of the world’s global trade is by sea and that globalization has entirely changed the world’s trading patterns with new emerging markets requiring more transport services than ever before.
Aside from the expanding offshore exploration of petroleum resources the cruise industry also continues to grow, said Risa.This developments, the ambassador said, entail a growing demand for maritime workers.
“There is a serious problem even today when it comes to officers for the worldwide fleet—both for bridge and machine room. To put it bluntly: there is a shortfall of supply, due to increasing demand,” Amb. Risa said.
“I believe schools should even seek to follow-up and evaluate their graduates’ employment experiences,” Risa said adding “(s)urely, a recent graduate after some time at sea could offer valuable insight in determining if the level of training is adequate, and even offer advice on issues such as job satisfaction.”
Eleanor Fernandez of the Commission on Higher Education (Ched) said there are 91 maritime schools in the country offering Marine Transportation and Marine Engineering programs, however, only an average of fifty percent usually pass the board examinations.
Meanwhile, Amb. Risa acknowledged JLFMU as among the very finest maritime schools in the Philippines. He said the DNV of Norway even recognized the institution’s qualities and has certified its Quality Assurance System – the first of such certification in the Philippines and the second in Asia.
Risa added the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association has also chosen JLFMU as one of the very select group of schools in its Norwegian International Ship Registry Cadet Program.
Dr. Mary Lou L. Arcelo, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of JLFMU, said the holding of the International Maritime Conference is their humble contribution to the promotion of high quality maritime education and training.
Among the speakers on the first day of the conference were: Dr. Peter Swift, Managing Director of Intertanko, United Kingdom; Dr. Shin Murata, JICA expert of the Maritime Training Council; Capt. Morten Johnsen of the Norwegian Shipowner’s Association; Dr. Hiyashi Yamamoto of the International Association of Maritime Universities; Mr. Rod Short, Chairman of GlobalMET; and Capt. Christer Bergquist, Senior Lecturer of Kalmar Maritime Academy of Sweden.
While on the second day of the conference, among the resource persons were: Ralph Cardeno of Negros Oriental State University; Marmon Pagunsan of Nizwa College of Technology of Nizwa, Sultanate of Oman; Dr. Francisco Javier Martinez de Oses of Nautical de Barcelona; and Mr. Fazlur Chowdhury, Deputy Director of Bahamas Maritime Authority.

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