In its storied 135-year history of NYK, Akihiro Mori now holds a distinguished place in the company, as effective April 1, 2020, Mori becomes the first internally trained seafarer promoted to captain.
The story is an important one for the maritime industry as a whole, as the plight of the seafarer and the ongoing quest to find and groom the ‘next generation’ is universally shared in 2020.
In fiscal 2006, NYK became the first shipping company in Japan to hire graduates from ordinary four-year universities to undergo extensive in-house training for positions on board vessels.
“Although the seafarer profession is tough and challenging, it is a worthwhile lifetime path,” said Mori. “Opportunities are expanding both offshore and onshore, and I welcome young students who have the dream of taking this journey, working together, and overcoming hardships.”
After joining the company, recruits embark on a two-year course to receive education and onboard training that enables them to obtain seafarer’s license, after which they are provided with onboard experience as deck officers and engineers, eventually working toward the rank of captain and chief engineer.
Traditionally, Japanese seafarers are sourced from a maritime university such as the University of Mer-cantile Marineand the National College of Maritime Technology. However, as is the case in many mari-time nations, in order to secure a stable supply of human resources from a wide range of sources, the company opted to begin its own internal training program.
The course to becoming a captain is neither short nor easy, as generally 15 to 16 years is needed be-fore attaining the position of captain or chief engineer. Captain Mori is the first to be promoted to the rank of captain after participating in this program.
“With experience on board, Japanese seafarers support our ESG management by providing technical support for development of new technology, human education, and digitalization, as well as ship and cargo management onshore,” said Tomoyuki Koyama, NYK Senior Managing Corporate Officer and a captain himself. “Since more onboard expertise and diversity are required of seafarers at the forefront when NYK enters new businesses such as offshore businesses and offshore wind-power generation businesses, we will continue to secure and foster excellent Japanese seafarers to improve our com-petitiveness.”
NYK currently has about 600 Japanese seafarers, of which 100 are internally trained. In fact, the num-ber of new employees being internally trained is nearly equal to graduates sourced from maritime col-leges.
Captain Mori’s Path
Akihiro Mori joined NYK in 2006 as a member of the inaugural class of internally trained seafarers after graduating from a general four-year university. NYK then enrolled him at the Marine Technical College, where he received basic maritime training in a newly established course. He continued his studies at the National Institute For Sea Training(currently the Japan agency of Maritime Education and Training for Seafarers) and eventually completed onboard training on NYK-operated ships to acquire his sea-farer’s license.
Afterward, he served as an officer on car carriers, LNG carriers, and dry bulk carriers, among others, and was active in a number of fields. He was also able to use his onboard experience in work at the NYK head office. Last year, he obtained the seafarer’s license of 1st grade maritime officer, and he was then appointed captain on April 1. After several years of office work, he will begin his voyages at the helm as a captain.
History of Japanese Seafarers at NYK
1885 NYK Line founded
1896 First Japanese captain, Gosaburo Shimazu. Captained Hiroshima Maru on NYK’s Bombay route.
1920 Japanese seafarers total about 1,400 in all positions, i.e., captains, chief engineers, tele-communications chiefs, pursers, etc.
2004 NYK becomes first major Japanese oceangoing company to accept female seafarers
2006 NYK begins program to allow graduates from non-maritime colleges/universities to begin seafarer training after joining the company
2017 Woman promoted to rank of captain for the first time in NYK’s 132-year history
2020 First internally trained seafarer promoted to captain