Text and photos by Monsi A. Serrano
With only 5% women in a pre-dominantly men seafarer industry, the Norwegian Shipowners Association (NSA) has decided to open the door for women.
Speaking to the media last October 29, at the Norwegian Training Centre, MOA Complex, Pasay City, NSA CEO Harald Solberg said, “We need see that as the maritime industry landscape evolves, we also need to adapt our strategy given the implementation of digitalization and this will change really change the shipping fundamentally and create new opportunities.”
New technology, new opportunities
“Thus it is very important for us to assess our strategy and to remain aligned with the ever-changing demand of the maritime industry. With the advent of new technology which is the inevitable maritime future, the disruption would have positive impact,” the NSA CEO added.
“With new technology integration, it will create new opportunities as there would be more autonomous operations, optimized port operations, new regulations, new competence is needed, new business models and new areas for cooperation,” Solberg explained.
Challenges in the maritime industry
While technology is a welcome development, this will also leads disruption. This is what was also pointed out by Mr. Solberg.
“With the new technology comes new requirements and set of skills for our seafarers. But this is not something that the tech-savvy Filipinos should be worried about,” the CEO of NSA added.
“The adaption of new technology would lead to a more efficient maritime experience for the seafarers, and that is where NTC comes in to make sure every seafarer has the certification they need which they earn through training and not just given away without going through the program,” Solberg said.
“There is one thing Norwegian shipping is known for in more than 100 years of existence in the industry and this is being the fifth-largest shipping fleet and having the most advanced vessels in the world,” the NSA CEO underscored.
Call for Green Shipping: Responsible and sustainable shipping
Meanwhile the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Manila, Hon. Larissa Kosanovic, Deputy Head Mission Royal Norwegian Embassy discussed the need for all the stakeholders to address responsible and sustainable shipping which is part of the 2030 agenda in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals given the rising incident of ocean acidity, neglect for biodiversity and other maritime issues.
The Royal Norwegian Embassy official underscored the need to make crucial actions on the serious threat against the maritime industry. Hence, investing in nature based, promoting clean and healthy oceans, sustainable ocean economy, lost of bio diversity, over exploitation of resources, carbon emission and a lot more.
“With Green solutions it would lead to more opportunities, but cooperation is essential because the future of shipping and maritime industry must really be taken seriously and given the growing challenges that the maritime industry faces, we cannot wantonly ignore these issues.” Kosanovic added.
The Rise of Filipina seafarers
Given the fact that with new technology in the future of maritime industry goes with new talents and skills.
Speaking to THEPHILBIZNEWS, Norwegian Training Center Deputy Director Capt. Jo Even Tomren explained that there is nothing to fear about the new technology.
“Change is inevitable, and we at the NTC has been always prepared for any changes that we need to embrace,” the NTC Deputy Director said.
“When the Norwegian Shipowners Association hires, we make sure that we at the NTC being the premiere training center for the seafarers in the country are aware of what are the new trends and directions that the maritime industry will face. So we prepare our seafarers for that,” Captain Tomren.
“That is why we make sure that all the people we deploy are equipped with the necessaries knowledge and skills they need. The Norwegian Shipowners Association is currently employing 20,000 Filipino seafarers, and we know what skills and knowledge they need. What are the values that they (the seafarers) have to embrace,” he added.
When asked if with this plan of NSA to open doors for women would increase the number of Filipinos to be hired, the NTC Deputy Director said, “It would certainly. But that will not happen immediately. It is going to take time as they all need to undergo the training according to the Norwegian shipping standard we have been using for 29 years here in the Philippines. And we are happy that next year, NTC will be in its 30th year here in the Philippines.”
“The Filipinos will remain in demand and preferred by many shipping companies in the world. Because of Filipinos dedicated, resilient, and willing to make sacrifices for their dream and family”, Captain Tomren concluded.
This is the same observations that NSA CEO shared about the Filipino seafarers, for work ethic and being flexible.