The global shipping industry is suffering acute crewing shortages, particularly among officers, which presents an opportunity for the Caribbean to join the ranks of countries, in earnest, that supply crews globally. There is no pretense among CARICOM nations that the region can compete with the vast number of maritime grads annually from countries that have traditionally been a global supplier of crewing talent. However, the Caribbean can compete on quality of training, diversity of skill sets, and geographic proximity for all workers in the industry. Jamaica alone churns out hundreds of officer-level talent annually, many with Bachelor in navigation and engineering. Additionally, the country potentially generates STCW-qualified and ratings candidates in the thousands. No wonder cruise and cargo companies that build their brands around Caribbean destinations and supply chain routes are beginning to take a harder look at Jamaica and other Caribbean nations as sources of talent.

Under the theme, “Talent in your backyard”, the American Caribbean Maritime Foundation (ACMF) will host its Annual Gala and Anchor Awards on Thursday, November 2, 2023, at the Lauderdale Yacht Club in Ft. Lauderdale, to highlight shipping industry human resources in the Caribbean. Confirmed major sponsors are Tropical Shipping, Royal Caribbean, Roland and Loretta Malins-Smith, and Kestrel Group.

The Distinguished Patron is Mrs. Arya Ali, First Lady of Guyana. Gala Chair, Tim Martin, President, Tropical Shipping, will be joined by top brass from the cargo and cruise sector, and their suppliers, to celebrate Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) that has provided over four decades of world-class maritime education and training to the region. Established in 1983 resulting from a collaboration between the Governments of Jamaica and Norway, CMU’s earliest iteration, the Jamaican Maritime Training Institute, initial set of lecturers and students (fewer than 50 combined) were from Norway. Today, CMU has a student population of over four thousand from across the Caribbean, with over two hundred fifty professors and lecturers.

ACMF is CMU’s largest private donor—funding one hundred forty-two full-tuition scholarships and grants, to date, awarded to students in nine CARICOM nations through five academic partners across the region. “It is an honor to be part of such a vibrant sector and to be an agent of change in the shipping sector”, says Geneive Brown Metzger, ACMF President. “We owe a debt of gratitude to our donors” she says. Among them are Mr. and Mrs. Roland Malins-Smith, Royal Caribbean Group, Seaboard Marine, Saltchuk Family of Companies, Tropical Shipping, Seacor Island Lines, Kotug Seabulk Maritime, Kingston Wharves Limited, Kestrel Group, Norwegian Cruise Line, Nassau Cruise Port, Manzanillo (Panama), Shell LNG, Dubai Port World, Rio Haina Port, Laparkan, MSC Cruises, Shipping Association of Barbados, Port of Miami, to name a few.