It’s been said the men who left the islands to work at sea helped build the country, and Cayman’s roots in the seafaring tradition still run deep.
That’s evidenced by this week’s first annual Cayman Maritime Week. The country is positioning itself as a player in today’s high-tech global shipping industry, which could bring our people back to the sea for the jobs of tomorrow.
From shipbuilding and fishing, to sending our men off to sea, Cayman is deeply rooted in the seafaring traditions. Even our banking industry was born from the sea.
“Look where we are now, although seafaring is no longer a major occupation for Caymanians, we have maintained an enviable position in shipping,” said Premier Alden McLaughlin said during his welcome address at Cayman Maritime Week.
He pointed to the country’s growing maritime cluster, including the newly-established Maritime Park at Cayman Enterprise City, as helping bring Cayman full-circle to its roots at sea.
“Our maritime authority and shipping registry are one of the many ways in which we are able to diversify Cayman’s economy,” said Mr. McLaughlin.
“Cayman obviously has a great maritime history, what we really want to build on now is the future,” said Maples global managing partner Alasdair Robertson.
He told Cayman 27 attracting more shipping businesses could create more jobs for Caymanians in the industry.
“And also of course there’s the trickle down effect in the economy, people will need to buy houses, cars, more people in the shops, all that good stuff that adds to the overall economy in the Cayman Islands,” said Mr. Robertson.
“I believe we should perhaps encourage people from Cayman to go to sea as officers in the electronic age,” said Frank Coles of Transas, a company that provides safety and navigation technology for today’s high-tech ships.
Mr. Coles told Cayman 27 today’s careers at sea are vastly different from the ones our fathers and grandfathers remember.
“It’s incredibly high-tech today, I mean we have on our electronic bridges, the ability to walk around the bridge with an iPad and literally drive the ship or look at the navigation using an iPad,” said Mr. Coles.
The next step to this seafaring resurgence, say the experts, is bringing the shipping companies here.