Dáil Éireann - Volume 519 - 17 May, 2000
Written Answers - Marine Industry.
Mr. Creed Mr. Creed
121. Mr. Creed asked the Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources if the Department has undertaken any studies regarding employment proposals in the marine industry over the next decade, including in the area of qualified pilots within the various port companies and on international, commercial and passenger traffic out of Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13767/00]
Mr. Fahey Mr. Fahey
Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources (Mr. Fahey): My Department has in recent times progressed a number of initiatives to address issues relating to seafarer training and employment in the maritime sector.
A task force on seafarer training and employment, representative of shipowners and operators, educational and training agencies, industry and trade unions and specialists from Government Departments, was established in February, 1998, by the then Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources. It is critically examined current shortages of skilled seafarers, the potential of the maritime sector to deliver more jobs and the capacity/deficiencies of the existing educational framework for seafarer training.
The December 1998 final report of the task force recommended the establishment of a new national maritime college. It endorsed a joint proosal by the Cork Institute of Technology and the Naval Service for a combined civil and naval service national maritime college.
 The Government last week approved the establishment at Ringaskiddy in Cork of a new £30 million national maritime college. The new college will be a state-of-the-art centre of excellence for maritime training, capable of meeting Ireland's seafarer training needs into the future. The establishment of the college will maintain existing employment for Irish seafarers; increase the number of trained seafarers; provide options for the expansion of maritime related employment in Ireland; capture the opportunity presented by the growing deficiency in the supply of skilled seafarers internationally, and, act as a centre of excellence capable of attracting young people to choose careers at sea, at a time when the international maritime sector is poised for rapid expansion to accommodate international trade and ship based tourism operations.
In part because of the development of the new college, qualified seafarers will be available to fill key executive and management positions in our commercial seaports and fishery harbours, as port managers and executives, harbour masters and pilots, and they will bring new skills to bear on our expanding shore based maritime services sector and to servicing the lucrative international shipping and shipping services sector.
My Department is at present consulting all the players in the shipping sector, including the Irish Chamber of Shipping, the representative bodies for shipbrokers, ship agents and master mariners, to consider how the new college can best meet their educational and professional training needs.
The maritime college initiative will complement the recent establishment of the Irish Marine Development Office within the Marine Institute, to position Ireland to secure new jobs in shipping and shipping services. The new office will also promote Ireland abroad as an attractive centre for ship registration and for locating specialist marine related services in the same way that the IDA promotes Ireland as a location for investment in other sectors of our economy.
The IMDO's remit covers seafarer training. That office will ensure that no employment opportunities in the maritime sector are lost. To that end the Government will address those issues in the educational, fiscal or regulatory environment required to grow Ireland's maritime sector.
Regarding the availability of qualified pilots, the position is that pilotage authorities, including certain port companies, are responsible for employing-licensing pilots within their jurisdictional area. My Department has received no reports of any shortage of suitably qualified personnel from any authority.
Dáil Éireann 519 Written Answers Marine Industry.