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 Arab Academy for Maritime Transport
The AAST 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 140-acre land in El-Tarh in Abu Kir, Alexandria, as the AASTMT''s first location.
The buildings, felucca (small sailing boat) anchorage and anchorage buoys.
The furniture, supplies and training equipment which are not provided by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The sailing boats, life boats and launches for training on the use of radars.
The training ship "Aida 3", whenever needed.
The special supplies for transportation like buses for students and staff members.
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. (AAST)