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World Maritime Day: modified Georgian maritime sector with EU support

By Natalia Kochiashvili
Friday, September 25
The EU Ambassador to Georgia, Carl Hartzel released a video address on the occasion of World Maritime Day, which is celebrated on September 24th. Hartzel focused on the cooperation between Georgia and the EU in the Black Sea and spoke about the growing potential of the Georgian side.

“Today, Georgia already has more than 12 thousand sailors and their annual contribution to the state budget of Georgia is about `500 million. Container traffic in Georgian ports increased by 40% last year, which is an indicator of further growth potential. This joint work has already enabled Georgian sailors to have their education and certificates recognized by 20 European countries, giving Georgian sailors not only work on European ships, but also captaincy,” Hartzel said in a video posted on Twitter.

According to the Ambassador, as a result of cooperation between the EU and Georgia in the field of maritime, the standards of environmental protection and safety have been increased. “Maritime cooperation between the EU and Georgia is a success that still has a long way to go,” he noted.

The fact that out of 22 EU directives and regulations, Georgia has already implemented 16 was also mentioned. As Hartzel noted, the work on Georgia’s first naval strategy is also underway.

In addition, the EU supports the development of the Georgian maritime sector through various projects and programs, which address a number of issues, including improving infrastructure, strengthening navigation security, protecting the marine environment, as well as the introduction of modern standards of education and training.

According to the European delegation, all these reforms are aimed at supporting the country in the implementation of plans for the establishment of the necessary institutional and legal framework for a sustainable maritime transport system in line with international standards, the introduction of new technologies and innovations, energy efficiency, digitalization, maritime/port services and other.

The EU is proud to be Georgia's key partner in this process and is launching an information campaign on World Maritime Day, highlighting both the significant progress Georgia has made and its future prospects: International maritime education opportunities in Georgia and, as a result, quality employment; Economic opportunities arising from the introduction of EU standards and the adoption of a state strategy for maritime transport; Continuous work to ensure the protection of the Black Sea environment.

As a result of ongoing education and certification reforms, 54 countries around the world recognize Georgian seafarers' certificates, including up to 20 EU member states.

Thanks to recent education and certification reforms, most Georgian seafarers are currently employed on EU-flagged vessels or European-owned vessels, ensuring their safety, social security guarantees and modern naval standards.

Georgia's maritime sector is approaching European standards: Institutional and legislative reforms Safe, secure and efficient international shipping industry is an important component of the country's future sustainable economic growth, the vast majority of goods are imported by sea.

The maritime industry in the country is developing rapidly. In 2019, container cargo turnover in Georgian ports increased by 43%. Georgian ports, even in the conditions of a pandemic, continuously supply the country with the necessary products, goods and medical equipment as a result of a 24-hour working regime.

With the support of the EU, for the first time in the history of Georgia in 2021 the country will have a maritime transport strategy, which defines the key components of the maritime industry, strategic development goals and ways of their implementation.

According to the statement, Georgia has received state-of-the-art laboratory equipment as part of the EU project, which allows for regular studies of the Black Sea coastal environment.

According to the EU Embassy, EU technical assistance and capacity development assistance will enable Georgian experts to determine what further action is needed to improve the Black Sea coast.

“Georgia was one of the 14 maritime countries that responded to the call of the International Maritime Organization and expressed support for the seafarers as representatives of the key profession and the main driving force of international navigation,” said Natia Turnava, Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development.

According to the minister, during the pandemic, the world once again saw the great importance of shipping and the people working in this field for the creation of a sustainable future.

According to Turnava, thanks to the already implemented and ongoing reforms and modern infrastructure, the Georgian maritime sector is approaching European standards. Out of 53 countries in the world that recognize Georgian certificates, 19 are members of the European Union.