TasPorts Charles Black Memorial Scholarship Winner Announced

A Master Mariner who left a lasting legacy on the Tasmanian maritime sector has been acknowledged with the Tasmanian Ports Authority (TasPorts) awarding a new scholarship in partnership with the University of Tasmania.

The TasPorts Charles Black Memorial Scholarship provides a Tasmanian first-year undergraduate student with up to four years of financial support to pursue a career in maritime at the Australian Maritime College (AMC).

TasPorts Chief Executive Officer Anthony Donald said the scholarship was designed to pay tribute to the significant and unparalleled contribution that the late Charles Black made to the Tasmanian maritime sector over more than 30 plus years.

“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 four local port authorities to become TasPorts,” Mr Donald said.

“Prior to this, he was the Harbour Master and CEO of the Port of Launceston, where he originally commenced as a Marine Pilot. Charles had a lifetime of knowledge and experience that he continued to share with TasPorts after 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,” Mr Donald said.

“It is an honour to be able to provide this scholarship to an aspiring mariner.”

The inaugural scholarship winner is eighteen year old Ethan Ritchie.

Mr Ritchie started his studies at the AMC this year, where he is working towards attaining a Bachelor of Engineering Specialising in Naval Architecture, with Honours in Cooperative Education.

Mr Ritchie said he is attending AMC due to its reputation for world-class education standards and facilities for maritime education. He said he has been strongly influenced by his father, who is a marine engineer, and has fostered his passion for science and seafaring.

After two months of study, Mr Ritchie says his enthusiasm for working in the maritime sector has continued to grow, along with his determination to help design the vessels of the future.

“I would love to end up having a job that really interests me, in an industry that is always engaging me and giving me new challenges. I would much prefer to be in a role where I can love the work that I do rather than just have a nice paycheque, that’s far more important,” Mr Ritchie said.

“Studying at AMC has been a challenge with the changes due to COVID-19 but I am loving the content. It’s all very interesting and right up my alley.

“I feel absolutely honoured, it’s incredible to have been given this scholarship,”

Mr Ritchie hopes this is the first year of a long career that both challenges and inspires him.

The TasPorts Charles Black Memorial Scholarship was made available to a Tasmanian commencing their first year of an undergraduate degree at AMC in Semester 1, 2020. The scholarship provides for $5,000 per year for up to four years. Work experience with TasPorts will also available as part of this scholarship.

More information is available on the UTAS Scholarship and Prizes website: https://www.utas.edu.au/scholarships/home

For more information about the study of Naval Architecture: https://www.amc.edu.au/study/undergraduate/maritime-engineering-and-hydrodynamics/bachelor-of-engineering-honours