Bright future for Seafarers mapped out in Nautilus podcast

11 December 2019

The future of the maritime industry is the subject of a new Nautilus podcast, recorded at the Union's general meeting 2019 in Rotterdam in October.

The podcast is one of two special new episodes – the second, features an expert panel discussing diversity and equality within the sector. Nautilus Council member and The Shipping Exchange founder Graham Fisher hosts both podcasts.

Taking part in the podcast are Stephen Cotton, general secretary of the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) and Dr Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, president of World Maritime University and 'Mother of the Maritime Labour Convention'.

The podcast was recorded shortly after a Q&A on a newly-published document that both guests had worked on, 'Transport 2040: Automation, Technology, Employment – The Future of Work'.

Asked where he saw the maritime industry in 20 years' time Mr Cotton said that the ITF believes 'shipping and ports are going to be the mainstay of the global economy'.

In working on 'Transport 2040', the ITF had been trying to 'understand in proper detail, what are the risks, what's myth, what's true and how we should respond as labour unions to make sure that our members now and tomorrow are fully qualified to take the challenges that the future of technology will bring', he said.

Dr Doumbia-Henry agreed saying that a positive approach to the future is needed rather than seafarers being fearful of change and automation. 'What the major study projects is that you will need seafarers for the future, that seafarers will remain indispensable to shipping, and that the question will be that of the skillsets required for the future maritime professional.

'Shipping must continue to be the most effective most fuel-efficient and the most environmentally friendly form of transport,' she said. 'The importance of shipping will continue to grow and the need for seafarers will expand.