The first ever Lloyd’s Register Foundation-funded World Maritime University (WMU) fellows - Mithilesh Kumar and Faith Maraga – have started their MSc in Maritime Affairs, with the objective of returning to their home countries in a years' time with invaluable knowledge and expertise that can help build global capacity and promote safe and sustainable development in the maritime industry.
In January 2023, Lloyd’s Register Foundation and the WMU announced a new grant that would provide six fellowships over three years, taking maritime professionals from around the world to the WMU headquarters in Malmö, Sweden. The Maritime Affairs course provides students with excellent research skills, an understanding of the practical applications of knowledge and access to an unparalleled international network of fellow maritime and oceans professionals.
Mithilesh and Faith represent the first of the Foundation-funded cohort to join the WMU.
Capt Mithilesh Kumar is currently Nautical Surveyor-cum-Deputy Director General of Shipping in the Indian Government's Marine Department, based in Kolkata . When asked what motivated him to apply to the programme, Mithilesh said: “India is a developing country and over We are also a major supplier of human resources to the shipping industry all over the world. Our country’s maritime industry needs to be abreast with the latest policies, IMO (International Maritime Organisation) requirements, various state regulations and innovative technologies. The knowledge imparted by this programme will ensure that I can help these policies and technologies enhance maritime safety
The WMU MSc programme is a pre-requisite for Mithilesh’s next promotion, which will see him rise to Deputy Nautical Advisor to the Government of India. He is clear that his ambition is to use the fellowship to become part of “a global community of ocean experts” and share knowledge and ideas that can benefit the wider maritime community.
Faith Maraga is an Assistant Human Resources Officer at the Kenya Ports Authority. On the challenges facing the maritime industry in Kenya, Faith said: “There is a lack of proper understanding of the complexity and dynamics of trade logistics in industry and our country at large. This has led to conflicts between government bodies and customer dissatisfaction. I would like to understand how to decongest our harbours, eradicate theft of cargo, and moderate logistical costs so we can improve our port output in the long run.”
Once Faith has completed the course, she will be promoted to Senior Operations Officer, which gives her more responsibility to provide maritime and logistical advice to front line departments in port operations nationwide. She commented: “The WMU is the best place for me to be empowered and equipped with knowledge and skills to be more competent, grow into a better professional and help build capacity within my organisation.”
The MSC in Maritime Affairs at the WMU has proven to be an extremely prestigious course, with notable from the last five years including Venezuela's Director for Adaptation to Climate Change, Liberia's Director-General of Liberia's National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority, and the Head of the International Ship Registry in Honduras.
The course at the WMU also allows sponsoring organisations to help curate and specialise dissertation topics. This research can then be used to contribute to other related activities, such as supporting further analysis of Lloyd’s Register and Lloyd’s Register Foundation’s Global Maritime Trends 2050 – an ongoing multi-year research programme providing evidence and insight on the large-scale challenges affecting the maritime industry.
Tim Slingsby, Director of Skills and Education at Lloyd’s Register Foundation, said: “It’s wonderful to see the first two Foundation funded fellows join such a prestigious course at the WMU, and gain the skills needed to support a safe and sustainable transition in the maritime industry. Having Foundation alumni take up senior positions in the Indian and Kenyan government means we can ensure safety remains high on the agenda in two of the world’s most important seafaring nations.”
“To fulfil our mission of serving as a world centre of excellence in postgraduate maritime and oceans education, while at the same time building global capacity, WMU depends on the generosity of our fellowship donors,” said Susan Jackson, University Registrar. ”LRF has made it possible for two talented young professionals to develop professionally, while at the same time acquiring the skills needed to promote sustainable development in their home countries. This grant is making a direct and immediate impact on people’s lives and on their home countries.”