Opening Speech

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It gives me a great pleasure to extend to you all a very warm welcome to the 9th Annual General Assembly Meeting of the Black Sea Association of Maritime Institutions. Today, we will share a memorial historical day here in Piri Reis University.

It is an opportune time to renew contacts and discuss problems of mutual interest with participants.

I would like to extend my very special thanks to Mr. Selim Dursun, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure for his kind support who will also honour our conference by delivering a keynote speech on the subject of ‘’Importance of Black Sea Region from Maritime Perspective’’

Connected to the Mediterranean through the straits, the Black Sea constitutes a convenient route to the west, while it serves as a crossroads between Europe, Asia and Africa. The majority of the long distance trades overpass the Black Sea, giving commercial prosperity to the ports around it, due to two main reasons: the stable political regime in the hinterland that secures the trade routes and the access to a network of overseas transportation.

Since the early nineties, the Black Sea region has witnessed fundamental geopolitical changes and significant shifts in its regional context and dynamics. In an attempt to react to increasing number of common challenges, the Black Sea states have jointed efforts in various regional cooperation activities. Throughout the years, the Black Sea cooperation has evolved with different speed and success, reflecting the difficult regional circumstances and attracting increasing external involvement.

The Black Sea region is an economic area with a potential for growth and an important transport and energy hub. The tourist sector bears importance for the littoral states and accounts for a significant share of the generated GDP. Fishing and aquaculture also represent important economic activities for the littoral states.

There are many marine and maritime-shared interests (fisheries, environment, tourism), calling for coordinated actions and synergies.

The Black Sea region maritime and coastal capital is very rich, relatively unexploited, and could be used to support potential opportunities, through both sustainable development/adaptation of existing activities and creation of new ones.

There is already a well-established record of cooperation with a number of regional organisations involved in maritime issues; however, there is still need for coordinated actions to promote the Black Sea beyond the region itself.

With an economic but sustainable prism, sustainable and integrated development of marine and maritime sectors is vital as a whole, promoting growth, innovation, jobs and investments and reducing poverty, whilst safeguarding healthy seas and their ecosystems.

Blue Economy comprises marine and maritime market-driven and policy-driven activities, aiming at the sustainable development of the sea. The market-driven “Maritime Economic Activities” aim at producing goods and services and promoting economic growth, including sectors such as maritime transport, fisheries, Mari culture, coastal tourism, oil and gas exploitation, marine renewables, biotechnologies, etc. The policy-driven “Maritime Policy-Driven Activities” aim at valorising maritime and coastal assets according to policy objectives and at regulating their use, including sectors such as research and education, environmental protection, regulation, security and defence, etc.

In addition to the political and security challenges, Black Sea also poses serious environmental problems. Pollution, loss of biodiversity and coastal degradation has been identified as the major issues affecting the environmental state of the Black Sea. To overcome all those challenges strong partnership and coordination required within the borders of region. Future partnership and mutual work efforts should be concentrated  

  • To develop the cooperation with all Black Sea countries,
  • To consolidate the cross-border cooperation and the information exchange between regional states,
  • To set out the vision and strategic goals for Black Sea region,
  • To contribute to a wider dissemination of all gathered information concerning Black Sea area, best practices and stakeholders.
  • Extend this cooperation beyond the Black Sea

Marine science and maritime education and training are a good basis for cooperation and are key factors in improving and developing new skills in the region. The cooperation towards the setting up of the Common Maritime Agenda could be bottom-up process for the BSAMI countries, with the involvement of the relevant stakeholders.

As heads of Black Sea Maritime Universities, we need to aim to contribute to the regions well being by raising the culture of maritime traditions, which unites the seafarers in a common sense. Today development of Maritime Education and Training system is a dynamic process under the pressure of rapidly improving maritime technology. An ideal development cannot be achieved by considering the existing practice and internal processes and procedures only, and needs to have a wider perspective by reviewing best practices worldwide and establishing the necessary benchmark. The recent unfortunate accident at Kerch Strait, which we also lost one of our new graduates, once more has shown that we shall not compromise our education and training standards. Therefore this conference is intended to cover all related issues in depth and wider perspective to increase our standards.

In the first session of the conference, we will discuss new developments in the Black Sea and new requirements on Maritime Education and Training with the contribution of distinguished representatives of BSAMI member universities.

In the second session, we aim to discuss a new phenomenon effecting whole Eurasia, which is One Belt-One Road Initiative, started by China in 2013. We will try to understand the possible effects of One Belt-One Road Initiative, in particular Maritime Silk Road’s reflections for Black Sea and new maritime education and training requirements in this regards. Also new approaches such Maritime Spatial Planning in planning and managing maritime areas will be discussed in view of increasing maritime activities in such a limited sea space.

Distinguished Guests,

Once again, I would like to express my deepest appreciation for being with us today, and present my warmest welcome wishes.

 In concluding, I wish you every success in your deliberations and a very pleasant stay in İstanbul.

Please enjoy the Conference.

Professor Oral ERDOĞAN