Secretary-General lays foundation for LNG training in Egypt

The foundation stone of a new maritime training institute for LNG operations has been laid by IMO Secretary-General Efthimios E. Mitropoulos during an official visit to Egypt last week at the invitation of Transport Minister Dr. Essam Sharaf. His programme included the renewal of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on technical co-operation matters between Egypt and IMO, a visit to a number of important Egyptian maritime centres and meetings with key officials from Egypt's maritime and political communities.

The new LNG training facility will form part of the Arab Academy for Science, Technology & Maritime Transport (AASTMT) in Abu Quir, Alexandria. Commenting on this latest development, Mr. Mitropoulos praised the Academy and expressed his appreciation to Dr. Gamal Mokhtar, President of AASTMT, for his leadership, foresight and vision in creating a new training centre to serve such an expanding maritime sector. He also expressed his confidence that the new facility would make a significant contribution to the excellent training that students at the Academy receive and would represent an important addition to the diversity of maritime-related career training available.

The new facility is expected to become operational during the first half of 2006, and will complement the existing amenities at the Academy's Maritime Complex, which include the College of Maritime Transport & Technology, the Integrated Simulators Complex, the Maritime Safety Centre and the Regional Maritime Examination Centre.

During his visit, Mr. Mitropoulos had discussions with Minister Sharaf, which culminated in the signing of a renewed and expanded MoU on technical co-operation between the Ministry of Transport, the AASTMT and IMO.

Among the activities included under the terms of the MoU, AASTMT and IMO will, during 2006/2007, jointly organize two regional seminars for simulator instructors from maritime academies of the Arab/Mediterranean region; they will also implement and deliver a four-week training course for ship inspectors from the region on the inspection of non-Convention ships, as well as a one-week course to train auditors from Arab/Mediterranean countries on preparation for and participation in the IMO Voluntary Member State Audit Scheme. A draft regional Strategic Action Plan for the control and management of ships' ballast water and sediments will be developed and a regional task force established.

The MoU will also see the Government of Egypt, represented by AASTMT, grant scholarships for six students from Africa to enrol in the Academy's four-year programme leading to the award of a bachelor's degree on maritime navigation, at a cost over US$100,000. The Government of Egypt has undertaken to contribute a total of US$50,000 over five years for the implementation of technical co-operation activities as well as US$30,000 for the delivery of a regional course for the training of the auditors to assist in the operation of the IMO Scheme.

While in Egypt, Mr. Mitropoulos also visited the headquarters of the Suez Canal Authority in Ismailia. He was updated on recent developments on traffic, safety and security aspects by the Chief of the Authority, Admiral Ahmed Ali Fadel; and visited the Canal Simulation Centre used for the training and retraining of Suez Canal pilots.



Briefing 36/2005, 1 August 2005

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