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Seafarer shortage warning post-pandemic

Seafarer shortage warning post-pandemic
Sam Chambers February 17, 2021

The global crew change crisis could lead to a shortage of seafarers if exhausted crew choose to leave the shipping industry rather than risk another long period trapped at sea, the Maritime Authority of Jamaica (MAJ) has warned.

Rear Admiral (retired) Peter Brady, MAJ director general, advised of the potential danger to the shipping industry if there is a mass exodus of crews from their seagoing jobs to take up shore-based employment which gives them more time with their families.

“If seafarers are not available to operate the ships, those vessels will simply lay alongside idle. Does the world need that now?”, he mused in a release sent to Splash.

This will have a long-term impact on the quality of crew joining the industry

Brady chaired the IMO’s Standard of Training and Watchkeeping (STW) Sub-committee – now Human Element, Training and Watchkeeping (HTW) Sub-committee – for 10 years, and is currently Jamaica’s chief technical delegate to the IMO.

Shipping industry leaders and legislators should come together again to discuss the situation, Brady is urging.

He said: “It seems that it is time for another global summit to include the United Nations, its relevant agencies such as the IMO, International Labour Organization, industry bodies such as the International Chamber of Shipping, and even the International Civil Aviation Organization. It should not be a talk shop but one which pledges to set goals for the industry and then sends a compelling document to the global financial institutions to indicate the impact on global trade if seafarers are not available to crew ships.”

Earlier this month Brady and the Jamaican maritime authority put forward a concept for a set of global crew change hubs as a short-term solution to the barriers presented by global travel restrictions.

The issue of enticing quality crew post-Covid was one of the main themes in a shipmanagement survey carried on this site last month.

“The fallout effect of this pandemic has been very damaging for the future recruitment of seafarers,” warned Carl Schou, CEO and president of Wilhelmsen Ship Management.

Kishore Rajvanshy, the veteran head of Fleet Management, commented: “I have no doubt, this will have a long-term impact on the quality of crew joining the industry in the foreseeable future.”