The Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport in Sharjah initiates a collaboration with the Federal Transport Authority - Land & Maritime
The Arab Academy forScience, Technology and Maritime Transport in Sharjah (AASTS) has successfully commencedtalks for a collaboration with The Federal Transport Authority - Land &Maritime (FTA). This will include utilising AASTS’ capabilities and the expertiseof its staff to develop the UAE’s maritime sector. The move supports AASTS’vision to strengthen the Arab maritime sector by training national cadres andproviding research and development services. It also supports AASTS’ strategy tostrengthen the UAE’s position as a leading maritime hub globally.
The meeting was attended by H.E. Dr. Ismail Abdel Ghaffar Ismail Farag, President ofthe Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport (AASTMT) and H.E. Eng. Hessa Al Malek, Executive Directorof Maritime Transport at FTA. Dr. Ahmed Youssef, Associate Dean of Maritime Transport and TechnologyCollege, AASTS; Dr. Aysha Al Busmait, IMO Goodwill Ambassador and CorporateCommunications Director at FTA; and Captain Abdullah Al Hayas, Director of Maritime Affairs Department, FTA, were also present.
The two sides discussed cooperation in variousareas including education and training; conducting specialisedresearch to develop the shipping, ports and logistics services; and developing trainingin maritime electronic capabilities and cybersecurity for shipping and maritimeoperations and ports. They also discussedcooperation in key areas such as promoting the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI)to deal with oil pollution, the sustainability of ports, blue economy and maritimefinancing, in addition to providing technical support.
H.E. Eng. Ahmed Sharif Al Khouri, Director General of FTA, said: “In the UAE, we are determinedto be ‘number one’ in all areas. The country is a role model for sustainabledevelopment. Our leaders continually ensure the prosperity and wellbeing of thecurrent and future generations in the post-oil era. This is the essence of the UAE’sstrategy as it prepares for the next fifty years. The maritime economy and themaritime sector are key pillars to achieve this vision."
Al Khouri added: “This goal cannot beachieved without qualified and creative people who can utilise these opportunitiesand build on the achievements of our founding fathers under the flag of theUnion. Our leaders transformed challenges into successes and unparalleled prosperity,and we must continue to do so. To promote such growth, we are discussingopportunities with AASTS, a prestigious academic institution in the region,which is on a mission to enhance the Arab region. As a part of the League ofArab States, it is a benchmark in the education and training sector. It playsan important role in providing the Arab World with competencies and experts in scientificresearch, consultancy and academic studies.”
Developing economic capabilities
H.E. Dr. Ismail Abdel Ghaffar Ismail Farag, President of AASTMT, said: “As an organisation associated with the League of Arab States, we are mandated to explore cooperation prospects to develop theeconomic capabilities of all Arab countries. However, our relationship with theUAE is a special one. Since the establishment of our Sharjah branch, we have receivedunlimited support from the leadership and decision-makers to empower themaritime sector. The generous scholarships and top-notch facilities theleadership has allocated to the Academy in Sharjah make it on a par with thebest maritime academies internationally. Today, we can proudly say that thisbranch is the largest of all, and is comparable in size and capabilities to ourheadquarters in Alexandria.”
He added: “Taking into accountthat the UAE is a leading global maritime hub, exploring cooperation and developmentopportunities with FTA is an important step. The country has retained itsmembership in the International Maritime Organisation for the second time in arow. To be able to maintain this esteemed position, it is important for us to supportin multifarious ways. We hope to contribute by improving and developing the bestmaritime practices and providing advisory and scientific studies for specialisedapplications and cases, thereby impacting the global maritime industry.”
Cooperation in maritime cybersecurity
AASTS and FTA also discussed key factors like providing support in digital capabilitiesin shipping, maritime andport operations, and electronic maritime management and maritime cybersecurity.
H.E.Eng. Hessa Al Malek, Executive Director of Maritime Transport at FTA, said: “The UAE has madesignificant progress in digitalising its maritime infrastructure. Our ports arethe most automated worldwide, and our shipping companies own exceptional state-of-the-artdigital platforms. The UAE’s digital capabilities are comparable to distinguishedprogramming and electronic solution companies and can outperform them in practicalapplication. The demand for technology-enabled solutions is soaring as themaritime sector is becoming increasingly dependent on digital technologies.Hence, it is vital to deploy young cybersecurity experts. This will enhance theprotection of our digital maritime assets and make the UAE a global provider ofthis essential service.”
Commenting on how themuch-awaited collaboration will impact maritime training and qualification, Dr. Ahmed Youssef, Associate Dean of MaritimeTransport and Technology College, AASTS, said: “Maritime educationdepends significantly on the practical aspects. This is the biggest challengemaritime academies around the world face, considering the high costs oftraining vessels. We look forward to FTA’s support to facilitate the training ofour students on ships operating in the UAE. This will give the Academy acompetitive edge, and make our national graduates better qualified as they willbe equipped with practical experience of working on ships of various types andsizes."
AASTS has the highestpercentage of female students among maritime academies in the Middle East andNorth Africa. Enrolled female students constitute more than 43 per cent of thetotal number of students. This supports the UAE’s strategy and is in line withthe FTA’s priority to empower women in the maritime sector, and employ their capabilitiesand creativity to boost the maritime sector.