Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, Natia Turnava, heard the annual report of the Maritime Transport Agency of Georgia and information on the future plans. The presentation was given by the Director of the Agency, Tamar Ioseliani. The event was also attended by the Deputy Minister, Akaki Saghirashvili. The Director of the Agency focused on the institutional development and international recognition of the sector, as well as improvement of the education system for seafarers and promotion of their employment.
It was noted that following the Agency’s initiative, a special web portal designed to promote seafarers' employment has been launched this year, providing direct communication between seafarers and employers.
According to Tamar Ioseliani, Georgian sailors, due to their high professionalism, are in high demand in the international market. This is evidenced by the employment rate of Georgian sailors.
This year a Mutual Recognition Agreement for seafarers was signed with 2 maritime nations: Brazil and Kuwait, while Australia, the UK, Saudi Arabia and Qatar agreed to sign the relevant memorandums in early 2020. As of today, Georgian seafarers are able to work on ships flying flags of 51 countries and 19 out of them are the EU-states.
Tamar Ioseliani noted that because of Georgia's maritime reforms, the International Maritime Organization put only 53 states, including Georgia, out of the 174 countries worldwide, on the so-called white list.
Besides the employment of seafarers in 2019, the Maritime Transport Agency contributed to the employment of Georgians in two more new segments. In terms of employment of seafarers on cruise ships, a unified approach was established, ship owners were consulted and the first flow of seafarers was employed. Additionally, in cooperation with the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ), the Maritime Transport Agency has developed a module for the Maritime Culinary Program. After completing the above mentioned certification course, applicants will be able to work on ships as a ship's cook, his/her assistant and in the position related to food and beverages service.
The Director of the Agency also spoke about the Poti Maritime School. According to him, rehabilitation of the vocational school building in Poti should be completed in 2020, and by spring 2021 it should receive the first flow of students. The Poti School is initially intended for 1000 students and will employ 250 people.
Particular attention was paid to Georgia's participation in the international maritime systems aimed at maintaining maritime safety standards at sea.
It was noted that Georgia has recently joined several international systems significantly increasing the opportunities of Georgia, as a maritime state, in terms of ensuring the maritime security, search and rescue activities at sea and protecting the marine environment. The talks also concerned the project under the single window principle, which implies the introduction of digital services to the port sector, the liberation of incoming vessels from bureaucratic barriers and unnecessary document processing.
It was stressed that the implementation of the project will significantly reduce the detention time for vessels in Georgian ports promoting to increase the efficiency and cargo capacity of the ports.
“Georgia's maritime sector is evolving, which, on the one hand, has been reflected in the quantitative and qualitative employment of Georgian seafarers and, on the other hand, in the development of the Georgian port infrastructure and services. I think the reforms that are being carried out or planned are going to increase positioning of Georgia, as a maritime nation, on the international arena,” - the Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development, Natia Turnava, stated.
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