Predictions of a seafarer shortage by 2026 highlight the importance of prioritising competencies and skill building, says Danica.
amely, Managing Director Henrik Jensen warned about the need to enhance training, knowledge and leadership skills to bring more officers to the desired level and address any shortfalls.
Adding his crewing industry perspective to analysis of the recently-published ICS/Bimco Seafarer Workforce Report, Mr. Jensen said:
The reality is a little more complex than just a question of numbers. We need officers who are competent to fulfil the roles required of them onboard and to meet the specific needs of their employer
Moreover, Mr. Jensen believes that shipping must provide cadet berths and opportunities for young recruits to enter the industry and progress their careers, to ensure we build a robust crewing pipeline.
In addition, crew availability is affected by today’s seafarers’ preference for longer vacations and the need for crew to attend courses during their leave time for renewal of their certificates:
We have moved from a ‘manning factor’ – the ratio between crew onboard and crew on leave – of 1.5 about ten years ago to more like 1.8 now. And for companies operating a ‘back-to-back’ policy, with two sets of top officers for each vessel, the manning factor is 2
What is more, with an ageing seafarer population, attracting ‘young blood’ to the industry is essential. As a result, Danica says that shipping needs to modernise its approach to recruitment and retention in order to appeal to Generation Z.
With strong competition for young talent, particularly from the IT sector, the maritime industry needs to work harder to promote itself and the opportunities it can offer. Generation Z’s expectations from the workplace are different. They are seeking a fulfilling career with plenty of opportunities, as well as a good work-life balance and environmental and ethical principles
The recent Seafarer Workforce Report from BIMCO and the International Chamber of Shipping warns that the industry must significantly increase training and recruitment levels, in order to avoid a serious shortage in the total supply of officers by 2026.
The report also estimates that 1.89 million seafarers currently serve the world merchant fleet, operating over 74,000 vessels around the globe.