Marine Institute hosts successful international maritime conference
Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Delegates from 45 universities around the world convened in St. John's from October 15-17 as part of the International Association of Maritime Universities (IAMU) Annual General Assembly 13 (AGA 13), hosted by the Marine Institute (MI).

The event, which was held at the Delta Hotel, focused on the conference theme, "Expanding Frontiers - Challenges and Opportunities in Maritime Education and Training."

As the sole Canadian member of the IAMU, the Marine Institute was proud to host the conference on Canadian soil for the first time.

"This conference gave the Marine Institute an opportunity to raise its profile within the international community in terms of maritime education and training," said Catherine Dutton, head, School of Maritime Studies, Marine Institute. "There are changes taking place in the international scene for certification of seafarers and through this conference we have learned how to meet the new requirements being set in the international field."

The three day conference was enhanced by a visit of the Russian tall ship, the Kruzenshtern with a compliment of 109 cadets, which welcomed delegates on board during the first evening. Widely regarded as one of the jewels of the Russian sailing fleet, this vessel is the second-largest sailing ship in the world and one of the fastest in its class.

As part of the conference, 17 students from maritime universities took part in the IAMU student program held at the Marine Institute. Students participated in simulation exercises, technical presentations and were provided a cultural tour of the city.

Students Joachim Fagan, Matthew Oliver and Austin Romano provided assistance throughout the conference, including the international executive board meeting held the weekend before the conference.

A variety of topics were covered during the conference including situational awareness; recruitment and retention of seafarers; distance education and technology; participation of women in the marine industry; the new STCW standards; and human factors in Marine Education and Training (MET).

In addition to conducting the business of the association participants in the conference were provided presentations on five funded research projects from the Australia Maritime College, World Maritime University, Odessa National Maritime Academy, Constanta Maritime University and Regional Maritime University.

Presidents or their representatives took part in a presidents' forum during the second day of the conference which focused on the new Standards for Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW).

The final day of the conference concluded with research presentations as well as student presentations to the delegates. The evening wrapped up with a celebratory Gala Dinner and Newfoundland Kitchen Party.

The conference received positive feedback particularly in terms of the scope and quality of the presentations and the opportunity to discuss common challenges.

"I am very pleased that we were able to meet everyone's expectations for a successful conference. This is due to the local executive committee and others who worked behind the scenes to get everything ready for a smooth running event," said Dutton.