'METAVASEA' brings together a wide collaboration of maritime stakeholders, to provide a snapshot of maritime decarbonization infrastructure in Greece & Cyprus, and map the current skills gap in order to support seafarers, port workers, shipping professionals and administrators. The ambitious project commenced with its inaugural partners' meeting on October 6th at the Athina Maritime Learning & Development Center in Athens.
METAVASEA aims to train and upskill 1,500 seafarers, shipping professionals, and port workers in new fuels, digital awareness, marine environmental awareness, and soft skills. It also seeks to boost the involvement of shipping companies and ports in maritime decarbonization initiatives, offer insights into shipping and community readiness for new fuels, and identify region-specific opportunities, gaps, and challenges. Moreover, it intends to enhance accident prevention through improved efficiency in on-board and port operations and raise climate awareness among 10,000 schoolchildren, 750 teachers, and 2 million residents in the East Mediterranean.
Supported by Lloyd’s Register Foundation, the project will be implemented between October 2023 and September 2028 under the coordination of the Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Association (HELMEPA), with partners Lloyd’s Register, World Maritime University (WMU), Cyprus Marine Environment Protection Association (CYMEPA), Cyprus Marine & Maritime Institute (CMMI), Premium Consulting and the Mediterranean Information Office for Environment, Culture & Sustainable Development (MIO-ECSDE).
Associate partners in the project include Athina Maritime Learning & Development Center of HELMEPA member-company Minerva Dry Inc, the Hellenic Chamber of Shipping and the Master and Mates Union of Greek Merchant Marine, the Hellenic Ports Association, and the Port Authorities of Elefsis, Heraklion and Thessaloniki (HELMEPA members), INTERMEPA - International Marine Environment Protection Association, KNOWL Social Enterprise, Gratia Publications (Naftika Chronika), Oriani and WISTA Hellas.
The project has already generated considerable interest among HELMEPA’s membership and regional stakeholders to be engaged in the activities including 46 shipping companies and organizations-members of HELMEPA as well as public and private maritime organizations, such as the General Secretariat of Ports, Port Policy and Maritime Investments of the of the Hellenic Ministry of maritime Affairs and Insular Policy, the Deputy Ministries of Shipping and Tourism and the Chamber of Shipping in Cyprus, the Ministry of Transport and Road Safety of Israel, the Arab Network for Environment & development (RAED) and the Arab Academy for Science, Technology & Maritime Transport in Egypt, Blue Visby Solutions and the Lloyd’s Register Maritime Decarbonization Hub.
Mr. Constantinos Triantafyllou, HELMEPA Head of Strategy & Development, outlined the needs that led to the project submission: the rapid green and digital transition of the industry, necessitating the development of new skills in the East Mediterranean, a climate change hotspot. Additionally, the revision of the IMO Strategy for the Reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Ships underscores the need for reskilling and upskilling of up to 800,000 seafarers by 2035.
Dr. Tim Slingsby, Director of Skills & Education at Lloyd's Register Foundation, highlighted the Foundation's mission to create a safer world and mentioned “Lloyd’s Register Foundation’s support for METAVASEA shows our commitment to ensuring responses to the climate emergency have safety as a primary consideration. This work that HELMEPA is leading will build capability and demonstrates the importance of working In partnerships and wider collaborations to embed safety and increase capacity on a local level, creating a safe, equitable and sustainable maritime industry”.
Meanwhile, Mr. Theodosis Stamatellos, Global Technical Client Care Director of Lloyd’s Register and HELMEPA Board Member, emphasized the importance of prioritizing the human aspect in maritime decarbonization efforts.
Mr. Manolis Nikolaidis, Managing Director of Premium Consulting presented an outline approach of the research study that will involve ports, seafarers, and marine communities in the East Mediterranean, seeking to provide a region-specific state-of-play with regards to maritime decarbonization, a comparative analysis with other parts of the world highlighting best practices and a detection of readiness levels of local communities, all important elements for decision-making.
Dr. Tafsir Matin Johansson, WMU Associate Professor/Sasakawa Global Ocean Institute outlined the role of WMU in the project to enhance capacity building and create an international platform for dialogue and discussions, disseminating findings through their network at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and other UN bodies.
Following the productive meeting, participants enjoyed a guided tour of the excellent facilities of the Athina Maritime Learning and Development Center, with Mr. Stelios Volakis, Training Manager, offering the Centre's resources for the METAVASEA project's future needs.