The Ground-Breaking Ceremony for the first-ever Maritime Training Facility in the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) commenced on Friday August 27 at the Marshall Islands Shipping Corporation (MISC) in Majuro.
Under the bilateral cooperation between the governments of RMI and Germany, the GIZ (German Development Cooperation) is implementing the Low Carbon Sea Transport Project with its efforts to pursue a transition towards a low carbon domestic fleet for the Marshall Islands, operated by Marshallese crew that will be trained at the Maritime Training Facility.
The joint-Maritime Training Facility that is expected to be built and completed by summer 2022, is purposed to allow national maritime sectors in the RMI to sustainably build on and enhance the local capacity and maritime skills in order to crew and operate modern and low-carbon vessels.
Delivering the Opening remarks at the Ground-Breaking Ceremony on behalf of the Marshallese Government was the Minister of Foreign Affairs and acting Minister for the Ministry of Transport, Communications and Information Technologies (MOTC&IT), the Honourable Casten Nemra.
“Today marks yet another historical page in the Marshall Islands as we join together here for the Ground-Breaking Ceremony to commence the construction of a Maritime Training Facility,” Nemra said.
Honourable Nemra said that based on the results of the assessment made by the Management and Technical Advisory committee (MTAC) of the bilateral project, the scenario identified to be most desirable was the development and construction of a newly designed low carbon vessel.
“Today I am told that a newly designed low carbon emission vessel is in the process of identifying a ship yard to build the vessel and hopefully by late next year or early 2023, it will be delivered to RMI.
In addition to this, what is more fitting than to have a Maritime Training Facility at the premises of the MISC to allow national maritime sectors in the RMI to sustainably build on and enhance our local capacity and maritime skills” Nemra said.
Speaking on behalf of the GIZ, Low Carbon Sea Transport (LCST) Project Advisor Janina Laurent said the main objectives of the project is to support the Marshall Islands in fulfilling its National Determined Contribution (NDC) objectives and goals in the transport sector under the Paris Agreement.
“These ambitious goals have become the main driver and motivation for us to pursue and to transition towards a low carbon, domestic fleet for the Marshall Islands,” Laurent said.
“It is exciting to see the future possibilities for students and young maritime professionals to start their career in the maritime industry and onboard seagoing vessels. Especially the focus on low-carbon operations will support the path towards sustainable shipping within RMI and give students a head-start in the future of maritime transport,” she added.
Laurent expressed GIZ’s gratitude for the support of the College of the Marshall Islands, NTC, MOTC&IT and MISC.
The event was well attended by all stakeholders, most notably the Honorable President David Kabua and the Honorable Minister Casten Nemra (Foreign Affairs and Transport & Communication) for the Republic of the Marshall Islands.
Also in attendance was Taiwanese Ambassador Jeffrey S.C. Hsiao and staff, Australian Ambassador Breck Batley and DCM Wade Carruthers, Representative of Japan Embassy Yuji Ito, US Embassy was present through Military representation of Oceania Task Force John Philipps and Gary Likiak, USAID, Secretary Anjanette Kattil (Ministry of Foreign Affairs), Secretary Phil Philippo (Ministry of Transport, Communication and Technology), three members from Council of Irooj, Dr. Irene Taafaki (president CMI), Julius Lucky (president National Training Council), Reverend Panukne Johnny, Royal Australian Navy, Port Authority, WAM Canoes of the Marshall Islands, Marshall Island Marine Resources Authority (MIMRA), Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Foreign Affairs staff, Johnathan Howe and GIZ consultant Michael Baack.
The Transition to Low Carbon Sea Transports came in a four-phase approach, to which in the project’s first phase inter atoll transportation was to assess by collecting and analyzing data through two baseline assessments.
This resulted in the identifying of a Scenario, which is the development and construction of a newly designed low carbon vessel and the Maritime Training Facility.
The Maritime Training facility at the premises of the MISC will allow the national maritime sectors in the RMI to sustainably build up local competencies and increase maritime skills.
The College of the Marshall Islands (CMI) has published a tender to draft the course curriculum this year.
According to MOTC&IT estimates, 20 students per year are required for careers in commercial and passenger transportation, including sustainable sea transport vessels, commercial fishing boats, deep-sea sailing vessels and the workboat industry.
Under the Paris Agreement, RMI set itself the ambitious goal to reduce emissions from domestic shipping by 40% in 2030 below the emission levels measured in the year 2010 and to achieve full decarbonization of the sector in 2050.
Thereby, RMI is the only country worldwide to explicitly include domestic shipping in its NDC and sets a great example to take shipping emissions serious on the path towards a climate friendly and energy efficient future.