AASTS launches first cartoon character for maritime sector in UAE

AASTS launches first cartoon character for maritime sector in UAE

SHARJAH, 18th August, 2021 – The Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport Sharjah Branch (AASTS) has launched an Emirati cartoon character as a mascot for the maritime sector, as part of its ongoing efforts to empower young Emiratis to join the maritime sector.
Through this innovative media awareness initiative, the first of its kind by a maritime academy in the Middle East, AASTS aims to raise awareness among youth about the various educational and professional opportunities in the maritime sector. The initiative supports the agreements between AASTS and several government organisations, including the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure and the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MoCCAE).
Commenting on the initiative, Dr. Ismail Abdel Ghaffar Ismail Farag, President of AASTS, said, “We have learnt from our extensive experience in providing quality educational and academic services, that the early years of education are ideal for instilling concepts and ideas that can change people’s behaviour. That is why we thought outside the box and decided to address this segment using the means and tools they like the most. Launching this cartoon character is part of a comprehensive plan that features other characters as well as promotional content about the maritime sector targeting young people.”
Hessa Al Malek, Advisor to the Minister for Maritime Transport Affairs, Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, affirmed the support of the Ministry for the media campaign to be based on the cartoon character.
She noted that this media campaign will be included in the UAE’s nomination portfolio for re-election to the membership of the Executive Office of the International Maritime Organisation – Category B, as it underlines the importance the UAE attaches to spreading awareness about the maritime industry.
She added, “Before oil was discovered, the sea was the source of livelihood and wealth for us and it continues to be a sustainable resource that ensures a comfortable life and a prosperous economy for future generations. The local maritime sector’s annual turnover exceeds US$60 billion. Additionally, the UAE is home to more than 20,000 maritime organisations and companies and over 21,000 ships docking in the UAE ports each year, carrying more than 17 million containers to and from the country.
“The UAE cannot depend on foreign professionals forever if it wants the maritime sector to have a pivotal role in its economic development. It must build its capabilities by making use of qualified Emiratis. Launching this cartoon character is a first step on the path to spread the sea culture and revive the image of Emirati seafarers.”
Sultan Alwan, Acting Under-Secretary at the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, said, “The global marine environment is under enormous pressure due to habitat destruction, overfishing, pollution, and now climate change. To mitigate the impacts of these challenges on the local waters, the UAE works relentlessly to preserve its marine environment for future generations.”
He added, “To advance these efforts and ensure their success, MoCCAE is keen to build synergies with all relevant stakeholders from the government, the private sector, and academia. In this context, we applaud AASTS’s initiative that will raise awareness about the importance of protecting the marine environment among the young generation and the general public.”
Dr. Capt. Ahmed Youssef, Associate Dean, College of Maritime Transport and Technology, AASTS, said, “The cartoon character will be first used in the media campaign to promote student registration for the upcoming academic semester that ends in December. We are currently designing a cartoon character for a female student, and other characters from marine life in the UAE waters, to highlight our concern for the environment. We have not yet given names to these characters as we intend to launch a campaign to ask the public for their suggestions. We will also use these characters to develop an interactive virtual assistant that guides visitors to the academy and its website and assists them in understanding more about our educational and administrative services. Preparations are currently underway to launch joint campaigns with leading educational institutions to use these characters in artistic and school activities, as well as to launch illustrated and animated stories.”