Establishing the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport (AASTMT) as a Regional Institute for Maritime Transport started as a notion in the Arab League Transport Committee's meetings on 11th of March, 1970. This notion came after the Arab League’s Council issued, in its fifty third session, decree no. 2631/1970 stipulating the endorsement of founding a regional center for Maritime Transport training. The decree commissioned the Arab Republic of Egypt, on behalf of all the Arab countries, to ask for a technical aid from the United Nations’ organizations specialized in the field of maritime transport.
By the end of 1971, the United Nations delegated a joint committee of its concerned organizations to study the region's need for this project. It highlighted the necessity of founding a regional institute for maritime training and also of providing adequate aid for it. The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) approved funding 3.2 million dollars on condition that the participant Arab countries contribute a sum of 8.25 million Egyptian pounds during a period of five years. Moreover, after visiting many of the region's countries, the committee chose the city of Alexandria, known for its great cultural legacy, as a location because of its important geographical location, which is in the middle of the whole Arab region, as well as the abundance of the qualified personnel available.
Eventually, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) prepared document number (REM/71L286/01/19) for the project of establishing the Arab Academy for Maritime Transport in Alexandria in cooperation with the International Maritime Consultancy Organization of Governments as an executive agency of the project and the United Nations Conference for Trade and Development as a participant (UNCTAD).
The AASTMT started its activity in a temporary location in Alexandria (1) on 28th of February, 1972. A five-year technical aid of 2.3 million dollars was allocated to the project in the form of experts, delegations and training equipment. The project, then, got a two-year extension with fund raising to $3.6 million.
(1) The first location was in the Maritime Transport Institute inTalaat Harb street then was moved to Sasoon street in Gleem.
Indeed, the Arab Republic of Egypt has fulfilled its obligation in conformity with the eighth item in the project''s document that specifies the governments'' contributions. Egypt provided the following:
The Arab Republic of Egypt has also pledged to make up for any insufficiency in the Arab participants'' continuous contribution to guarantee the continuation of the project hosted by Egypt.
In 1972, His Excellency Rear Admiral Abdel Moaty Ismael El-Araby, the Egyptian Minister of Transport at the time, signed the document confirming the Arab Republic of Egypt''s commitment as the host country.
On the 9th of November, 1974 in the Arab League premises, the Arab countries'' representatives signed the agreement of establishing the Arab Academy for Maritime Transport, an agreement which specifies the participant Arab countries obligations for the project. As a result, the Egyptian President''s decree number 532/1975 was issued to approve of the agreement on the 29th of May, 1975.
The AASTMT''s location was moved as a result of establishing the fertilizer''s factory next to it. The Arab Ministers of Transportation commissioned the AASTMT''s director to sell its buildings in El-Tarh area, Alexandria, and to choose an alternative. The AASTMT''s board of directors approved of moving the permanent location of the AASTMT to El Montada a 25- acre land in Abu Kir, Alexandria, provided that the ARE establishes the new buildings and facilities with a cost amounting to 12 million Egyptian pounds (12,269,000 Egyptian pounds) the resulting sum of selling the land in El-Tarh to the Armed Forces.
The AASTMT pursued its activities through its scattered, temporary locations in Alexandria until work in its permanent location in Abu Kir is finished. With its own resources, the AASTMT has also founded its administrative building in Miami, Sidi Bishr, Alexandria a 650 square meter hill with more than a million Egyptian pounds cost (1,112,263). The building was inaugurated on the 23rd of March, 1985 by His Excellency the Egyptian Minister of Transport. The building comprises offices, an equipped conference hall as well as the Research and Consultations Centre for the maritime transport sector established in 1984 and the Examination Center founded in 1979. The Miami building is estimated to cost approximately ten million Egyptian pounds at present.
In 1979, AASTMT decided to set up an examination centre to qualify captains, deck officers and marine engineers to get the necessary competence certificates to work on board high seas ships. Accordingly, the United Nations (UN) supplied AASTMT with a computer to save the exams and their model answers. The United Nations' aid was renewed following the system of participating in funding till the end of 1986. AASTMT has always been keen on having the flags of both the UN and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and that of the Arab League fluttering on top of its premises.
As a consequence of concluding Camp David peace agreement in 1979 and of issuing Baghdad Summit''s decisions, the Arab League''s headquarters was moved to Tunisia and hence, the AASTMT location was moved to Sharja, UAE. All the Arab funding was suspended except for that of Sudan. In light of this situation, the AASTMT was required to carry on its activities and services, reconstruct its buildings and equipping the new location without any Arab funding.
In such circumstances, everybody expected the AASTMT''s failure to continue as it used to be, but the Arab Republic of Egypt''s insistence and constant support as well as its shouldering of the new building expenses helped preserve this prestigious institution and this was the turning point in the AASTMT''s history.
This great stance on the part of the ARE is the major reason behind keeping this prestigious institution for the sake of the Arab countries.
In October 1981, a temporary committee authorized as the AASTMT''s board of directors was formed in the ARE with His Excellency, Engineer Soliman Metwaly, the Minister of Transport, as its president. The committee commenced its job according to the terms mentioned in the establishment agreement of the AASTMT signed by the member Arab countries and in accordance with the project document concluded with the UN and IMO.
All the efforts of the employees working in the AASTMT were united to raise and assist this Arab leading institution.
In 1994, as a consequence of the diminishing number of learners willing to work in the field of maritime transport, the increase in the tuition and maritime training fees, as well as the Arab fleets and ship owners resorting to cheap Asian labour and in accordance with the self-funding policy approved of by the board of Arab Ministers of Transport in November 1989 in Sharja, UAE, it was high time for the AASTMT to start looking for sources of funding through new activities and novel routes to maintain its basic and fundamental mission in maritime education and training so as to encounter the Arab and international changes. In addition, the AASTMT''s expansion in the fields of engineering and management was sprouting from its belief in providing good educational services depending on its strengths as well as its Arab and international reputation in devotion.
This has led to adding up to the AASTMT''s name and activities to be a major attraction for learners and also to guarantee the required sources of funding to sustain the high-expense maritime education and to reflect the AASTMT''s real image. Hence, the AASTMT''s name has become the Arab Academy for Science and Technology: "A university specialized in maritime transport" and its certificates have been made equivalent to those granted by Egyptian universities. The AASTMT has received Arab and international recognition due to its acknowledged and unique achievement.
Over five years (from 1991 to 1996), the educational and maritime training services excelled through the continuous Egyptian Ministry of Transport funding. Consequently in 1992, the AASTMT was granted the most modern training ship, "Aida 4", as a donation from the Japanese government. This achievement on the part of the AASTMT has contributed to the ARE''s achievement in the field of supporting maritime education and training.
As a reward for its eminence and great reputation on the international level, in 1994 the AASTMT was awarded the most modern simulator in the world (completed in two phases) from the USA administration. Cooperation with the American counterpart continued to found an advanced technology center. At this stage, the AASTMT has become capable of occupying an eminent position on the international level and of exceeding regional horizons to international ones because of owning the best training vessel, the most modern simulator in addition to offering a number of scholarships that have exceeded 120,000 scholarships at that time for students from 58 countries. For these many and tempting reasons and fruitful achievements, the World Bank has chosen the AASTMT from four international organizations representing the Norwegian Swedish Group, the Hungarian Group and the Danish Group to develop maritime education in Bangladesh by a limited tender. This has definitely been a glamorous achievement and the AASTMT''s proposal has been chosen as the best both technically and financially to carry out this significant international project that placed the AASTMT in the list of consultation agencies in the field of maritime transport at the World Bank and the universal maritime society as a whole.
In addition, in October 1996, after surviving all the difficulties and fighting all the battles, and after having such secure position in the fields of engineering and business science and technology, it has become important that the AASTMT invest its achievement in the area of maritime transport to modify its title from: "The Arab Academy for Science and Technology: A university specialized in maritime transport." to "The Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport" (AASTMT).