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Maritime College

Speech by HM the King at the Maritime College in Cork during a state visit to Ireland, september 2006.

Public representatives,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

When the Queen and I arrived with the Royal Yacht this morning, travelling up the river Lee, we were following the path of our ancestors. They were seafarers and tradesmen. We have come to renew and revive these ties.

The Queen and I are, therefore, very pleased to visit the National Maritime College of Ireland, and I am glad to address this distinguished audience. I would like to thank the NMCI for hosting this conference and the speakers for coming here to share their experience.

The NMCI trains naval officers for both military and civil purposes – a unique combination. The college has already established close cooperation with Norway. State-of-the-art Norwegian equipment is available for the students here. Cooperation in other areas is also planned. I am looking forward to witnessing the signing of a memorandum of understanding between NMCI and Vestfold University College, which will mark the start of an exchange programme for students from the two institutions.

You have chosen an ambitious title for this conference, “Maritime Governance – Our legacy”, and you have invited some very competent speakers. The marine environment is vulnerable. Climate change in the Artic will have a significant impact on life in the big ocean basins. Scientific monitoring and analysis of these changes are important. I am pleased to see that the Nansen Institute, which is affiliated to the University of Bergen, and the Coastal and Marine Resources Centre of the University College in Cork are cooperating in this field. I have also noted the close cooperation on fish resources and the marine environment that has developed between the Marine Institute in Galway and the Ocean Research Institute in Bergen.

Modern shipping has provided answers to some of the challenges arising from the rapid development of industrial production and consumer trends. Over the last 20 years, Ireland has emerged as a modern industrial nation. As in Norway, the domestic market is limited, and Irish products have found their way to a wide range of markets abroad. It is interesting to note that this conference devotes much attention to the challenges of modern maritime transport, such as the development of ports, ship design, transport corridors, safety at sea, pollution preparedness and the training of naval officers. I trust that the Norwegian Ship Owners Association and Det Norske Veritas will share their longstanding experience in this area.

I am certain that our two nations will benefit from close cooperation on these issues. I wish you a very successful conference.


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