6月8日、世界海洋デー記念シンポジウムへ参加して来ました (小澤)

2015年9月、ニューヨークの国連本部で開かれた国連総会にて採択された「持続可能な開発目標」(Sustainable Development Goals:SDGs)は、貧困や飢餓の終焉、生涯にわたる健康と教育の改善、居住地の持続可能性向上、気候変動対策、海洋と森林の保護といった17の目標と169のターゲットを掲げている。最も共感する誓いは「地球上の誰一人取り残さない(No one being behind)」という部分だと思うが、2030年というタイムリミットまでに如何にひとりひとりが、多様性と包摂性のある社会環境を希求し、その実現に向けて経済的・環境的な側面からも包括的に取り組むことの意義を痛感した。

今回のテーマは、SDGs14番目の目標である「海洋と海洋資源を持続可能な開発に向けて保全し、持続可能な形で利用すること」であり、美しい海のために私たちが出来ることに焦点が当てられた。

パネリストのなかに、国立大学法人東京海洋大学名誉博士のさかなクンもいらっしゃり、サンゴ礁の白化現象と海水温の関係、日本の海岸の漂着ゴミやひいてはゴーストフィッシングの問題にも触れながら、とりわけプラスチックゴミ汚染による深刻な問題が伝わった。

生物分解に要する推定時間として、ペットボトル1本で450年もの歳月がかかると言うが、自然分解したつもりであっても、たとえ小さくなっても分解はしていない状態のマイクロプラスチックが見つかると話す他の講演者からも深刻な問題が窺えた。また、陸上で生産されているプラスチック廃棄物が、消費者の不注意な行動からだろう、水路をも塞いでいるという情報も得た。

パネルディスカッションにて、魚を象った用紙に質問を書いたところ、その用紙がQ&Aセッションで選ばれた。「船会社が出来ることは何でしょうか」という問いに、外壁塗装で使用されたペンキがどのようなペンキなのか見直すことが挙げられるかもしれないとのことだった。また、IMOによる二酸化炭素の規制も付け加えられた。

日本でも、使い捨てのプラスチック容器などの再利用を促し、消費者自ら必要量を把握する、量り売りをする化粧品メーカーも現れているという。自動販売機にリフィル用の注ぎ口を設置するなど、積極的に知恵を絞って世界の海のために出来ることを考える良い機会となった。

58th Neptune Festival (June 2nd & 3rd)

Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology (Etchujima Campus)

The university opened its doors to the public this weekend for its 58th Neptune Festival. After entering, we made our way to the event stage which was situated on a lush green lawn; in the background a fine sailing ship “Meiji-maru” stood gleaming in the warm sunshine.

After a light snack of seafood yakisoba and their legendary hotdog, we headed to the planetarium. This particular one, the M/1 is the oldest in Japan. The seats were made of wood and tilted back suddenly when leaned back on. Then the lights went out and the narration began. The students performed it as if we were on-board a ship. We first navigated the northern hemisphere. The stars in the northern hemisphere are named after Greek gods. When we navigated to the southern hemisphere, it was interesting to learn that stars in the southern hemisphere are named after objects and creatures related to ships. For example, Algo represents a ship. Navigation of the southern hemisphere began more recently, hence the greater use of modern objects etc. related to the shipping industry. This was then followed by a brief description of the planetarium. The reason as to why the university has such a facility is because originally ships used star constellations to navigate, thus for aspiring sailors, a class on astronomy was a necessity.

After the planetarium, it was time for a break before the lecture on pilots. We found a very comfortable and enjoyable Jazz café in one of the classrooms. Though, it was anything but that of a classroom. The windows were blacked out and the tables arranged in a café-style with small candle-like lights. We ordered two ice-coffees and enjoyed listening to the music which was very good.

Then it was time for the lecture on pilots. On hearing the word pilot, an airplane pilot may spring to mind. There are pilots for ships, also. Pilot is mizusakinin in Japanese and the speaker mentioned that he prefers to be referred to as mizusakinin rather than pairotto. Pilots perform the important role of berthing the ship. Some ports are dangerous for the unfamiliar seafarer, and the law states that a mizusakinin be provided. We were then shown a video of an experienced mizusakinin piloting a huge cruise liner arriving from China. Prior to this video, he showed us a video of a female mizusakinin guiding in a ship. We learned how important communication skills are for this type of work. The mizusakinin must cooperate with the Master (Captain) and advise on how to safely proceed. This is very often conducted in English. While English is a must, he mentioned that the ability to communicate in English is the most important thing.

The video concludes with the mizusakinin safely berthing the colossal MS Quantum of the Seas. I have included some facts below, but to give you an idea as to its sheer size, picture an 8-10 story-high hotel, now imagine that hotel floating on water.

Owner/operator: Royal Caribbean International

Port of registry: Nassau, Bahamas

Builder: Meyer Werft, Papenburg, Germany

Tonnage: 168,666 GT (Gross Tonnage)

Length:  348.1 m (Tokyo Tower is 333 m!)

Propulsion: Diesel-electric

No. of decks: 18

In service: October 31, 2014

Mizusakinin are self-employed and register with the national agency. They do not work within shipping companies. The fee per occasion is in the range of 1,000,000 JPY (9,084 USD). There are three levels of license:

Level 3) Can pilot a vessel of up to 20,000 tons. More than one year’s experience as a Master or Officer, or more than one year’s experience on a training vessel required. Must successfully pass the Level 3 exam.

Level 2) Can pilot a vessel of up to 50,000 tons. More than two year’s experience as a Master or as a Chief Officer required. Must successfully pass the Level 2 exam.

Level 1) Can pilot a vessel of unlimited capacity. More than two year’s experience as a Master required. Must successfully pass the Level 1 exam.

 

There are 700 Mizusakinin in Japan and 35 ports that require them. Tokyo Bay is the most popular.

Of course, a visit to the Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology would not be complete without a tour of its magnificent sailing ship “Meiji-maru”.

Commissioned by the Japanese government, Meiji-maru was built in Glasgow, Scotland in 1873. In its heyday, it was a luxury state-of-the-art ship used as a lighthouse tender. It also served as ship for royalty. In 1964, the ship became permanently based at the Tokyo University of Maritime Science and Technology as a museum ship. One very significant piece of history the ship contributed to was the claiming of the Ogasawara Islands in 1875 – land that the British were competing for at that time.

It was great weekend out, and I thoroughly recommend anyone interested in nautical affairs to pay a visit.