TASPORTS recognised aspiring maritime engineer and Australian Maritime College student Zachary Paul as the company officially awarded the TasPorts Charles Black Memorial Scholarship for 2021.

The scholarship is named after a master mariner and Tasmania’s first harbour master, Captain Charles Black. Captain Black spent more than 30 years serving the Tasmanian maritime sector, making a significant and unparalleled contribution to the state’s ports.

TasPorts CEO Anthony Donald said the scholarship was designed to pay tribute to Captain Black by providing a Tasmanian first-year undergraduate student with up to four years of financial support to pursue a career in maritime at the AMC.

“Charles was a lifetime mariner and maritime industry expert who, amongst other achievements, was appointed as Tasmania’s first Harbour Master in 2006 following the amalgamation of the four local port authorities that became TasPorts,” Mr Donald said.

“As CEO, I am proud and honoured to see this scholarship provided to an aspiring mariner.”

The 2021 scholarship recipient is 19-year-old Mr Paul, who began his studies at the AMC in February. Originally from Lilydale, Mr Paul has a strong academic background and is working towards attaining a bachelor of engineering specialising in marine and offshore engineering.

This specialisation focuses on the design, maintenance and management of mechanical and mechanical-electrical systems, as well as diverse maritime engineering topics from oil and gas exploration and extraction to submarine cabling, wind farms and wave power.

“I love the ocean; it’s been a part of my life for a long time because my dad and I have always gone out on the water to go fishing or any sort of ocean activity,” Mr Paul said.

“I’m also passionate about making the world a better place, so this engineering program will hopefully allow me to do my part to help the ocean.

“My main goals for the future are to be the best version of myself, stay close to my family and try to make them proud. The scholarship is helping me to do that by relieving some of that financial burden for my family and allowing me to spend more time on my studies.”

Inspiring the next generation through the TasPorts Charles Black Memorial Scholarship goes beyond financial aid, as the recipient is also invited to participate in a vocational experience with TasPorts.

The inaugural scholarship winner, Ethan Ritchie, spent three months with TasPorts following the completion of his first year of studies at AMC in 2020.

“It was completely different to what I expected, and I was exposed to such a wide variety of areas that TasPorts operates within,” Mr Ritchie said.

“Of course, it was great to get out and about in real-world situations with the marine operatives and the marine pilots, but it was also really cool to see the logistics side of TasPorts. I had the opportunity to work with the property team, with management and I also spent some time with the tugboat crews doing maintenance on engines.

“Being so closely involved with company during my placement over the summer gave me a far clearer idea of what my future career might entail after graduating from the Maritime College. I am very thankful for the opportunity to work with TasPorts through the Charles Black Memorial Scholarship.”

Captain Charles Black arrived in Tasmania in 1981 to commence a role with the AMC. From the AMC, he moved into roles in Bass Strait and the Timor Sea, before settling into a position as a marine pilot at the Port of Bell Bay.

From his role as a marine pilot, Captain Black became the harbour master and CEO of the Port of Launceston. He generously shared his lifetime of knowledge and experience, continuing to advise TasPorts following his retirement in 2015 and right up until his death in late 2018.

He was hugely respected in the maritime industry and also in the Tasmanian community, for not only his professional accomplishments but also his character, which was often described as loyal, steadfast, and practical.

The TasPorts Charles Black Memorial Scholarship is available to a Tasmanian commencing their first year of an undergraduate degree at AMC.

The scholarship provides for $5000 per year for up to four years.