Transport Canada helps Ukraine establish maritime administration

From Transport Canada

From left to right:
Mr. Oleg Shymanski, Deputy Executive Director of Agriteam Canada – Ukraine
Tawnia Ammar, Executive Director, Agriteam Canada – Ukraine
Toni Becherrawi, Senior Marine Safety Inspector, Transport Canada
Anna Mazur, Project Team Manager, International Maritime Organization Audit Project Office
Oleksandr Basiuk, Director, Department of Reform and Operation of Maritime and Inland Water, Government of Ukraine
Ruslan Kundryk, Senior Legal Advisor, Agriteam Canada – Ukraine

Canada’s newest export to Ukraine is its maritime expertise.

Since Canada is a leader in developing and applying many marine conventions, protocols and policies, Ukraine’s Ministry of Infrastructure sought Canada’s help to reform its civilian maritime sector.

Transport Canada chose Toni Becherrawi, a senior marine inspector with the department, to help the Ukrainian government accomplish two objectives: develop a maritime administration that meets international standards and prepare its administration for the mandatory audit by the International Maritime Organization. This United Nations organization sets out international maritime standards and governs the maritime sector globally.

Ukraine’s new maritime administration is modelled after Canada’s – one with high standards designed to provide the country with a safe and efficient marine transportation system worthy of public confidence.

Mr. Becherrawi made his first 10-day trip to Ukraine last year to observe the maritime sector. He reported on the state of Ukraine’s civilian maritime sector, including an outline of what he believed the Ukrainian government needed to do to elevate its marine standards. He also offered possible solutions to many of the challenges Ukraine faced.

“It is a tremendously huge and great challenge,” he said.

His roadmap received a positive response. Mr. Becherrawi offered the Ukraine government a solution to most of the challenges they faced with the marine administration. But to Mr. Becherrawi, he was just doing his job.

“It was exciting. I was not expecting that,” Mr. Becherrawi said. “It made me proud. I was able to fly our flag a little bit higher. It was really, really exciting.”

In addition to the roadmap, Mr. Becherrawi also helped establish a project management system that included a team on the ground. He helped develop an action plan and will advise Ukraine on the implementation of the International Maritime Organization mandatory instruments.

It is expected that the newly established management system will help Ukraine during its first mandatory International Maritime Organization audit next year.

Ukrainian government officials and Canada’s ambassador to Ukraine signed a formal partnership agreement in July to further advance Mr. Becherrawi’s work. The occasion marked a significant milestone in Canada’s partnership with Ukraine.

“We always like to show that kind face,” Mr. Becherrawi said. “We are willing to help.”

Mr. Becherrawi, who is working on his PhD in marine emissions, joined Transport Canada as marine inspector in 2009. Before this, he had a 17-year career in Germany working as a seafarer, a marine engineer, surveyor and a technical superintendent managing a fleet of ships.