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Seafarers’ Workforce Report reveals detailed gaps in manpower supply


Reduced seafarers’ turnover observed, but more can be done

A report by the Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO) reflected a shortage of experienced officers at management level, and in the tanker and offshore sectors for management level deck officers. However, seafarer attrition rate reduced to 6 per cent from an earlier 8.

Progress despite shortfall

Labour shortage is explicitly this year; specifically a shortfall of 26, 240 Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping (STCW) certified officers. Despite a 10.8 per cent increase in officer supply since 2015, this shortfall could be due to a reported increase in officers needed onboard vessels. The report’s highlighting of reduced seafarer attrition rates suggested effective measures are in force to retain talent. This is corroborated by the increased ages of seafarers compared to 2015.

Guy Platten, from International Chamber of Shipping says: “The Seafarer Workforce report warns of an officer shortfall by 2026. To meet the future demand for seafarers, it is vital that the industry actively promotes careers at sea and enhances maritime education and training worldwide – focusing on the diverse skills needed for a greener and more digitally-connected industry. As we recover from the effects of the pandemic, we need to address the real concerns causing seafarers to turn away from careers in shipping. We must analyse and respond to trends in seafarer retention, and maintain regular monitoring of the global seafarer workforce to ensure that the supply of STCW certified seafarers is aligned with demand.”

Manpower roadmap

David Loosley from BIMCO remarked, “The Seafarer Workforce Report is necessary when it comes to planning for the future and assuring that the backbone of world trade is sufficient in numbers and skills. The insight and data contributions from shipping companies, national maritime administrations, and maritime training institutions are invaluable in gaining clarity of what our industry must prepare for future seafarer recruitment and retention.”

Statistics also revealed a positive trend in gender balance, with an estimated 24,059 women serving as seafarers; a 45.8 per cent increase compared to 2015. The percentage of female STCW certified seafarers is estimated to be 1.28 per cent of the global seafarer workforce and it appears that there has been a significant rise in the number of female STCW certified ratings compared to STCW certified female officers.


Crewing Online News Team
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