How would this year affect the crew market moving forward?
To date, the only constant is variants of COVID-19 disrupting supply chains. Nevertheless, there are more winds to anticipate for the manpower sector. Below are a few trends that both seafarers and employers can anticipate this year.
The impact of crew change in manpower supply can never be stressed enough. Maritime bodies have campaigned aggressively to improve seafarer treatment till they almost turned blue in the face; it still is the biggest contributing factor to seafaring falling out of favour in the list of career options.
Experienced seafarers having had enough of being at sea for long will consider early retirement as the pandemic compelled many to relook their life priorities. That leaves entry level crew with no mentors to learn the ropes from. Lack of training will indirectly affect motivation and fuel the thought of reevaluating if life at sea is a suitable career option.
Increased importance in training
Having the right skillsets to execute tasks onboard is pertinent. This is not just applicable to the maritime sector but all industries. Lack of training equates to opaque prospects, much less promotion. The Philippines is one of the nations that will be pushing for seafarer skills upgrading to aid crew’s employability and promotion to higher ranks.
Employers need to be prepared to invest in their crew for upskilling – be it to enhance competitive edge or replace the cohort of retired seafarers. The bottom line is to retain talents and maintain overall commercial value. After all, vessel mishaps are taboo and will be a dealbreaker for charterers.
Heightened digital transformation
The industry recognises autonomous ships are the future, but no projected timeline was given. Yet, a few entities namely the Royal Navy (RN), SeaBot XR and the UK’s National Oceanography Centre, have signed an agreement to set up a training centre for grooming a new breed of seafarers. Notably, the entry of autonomous vessels may just be what it takes to heighten a seafarer’s market value.
In other words, hybrid seafarers may emerge as the new breed to take on the industry’s digital transformation. Versatility will become a buzzword for manning agencies as they source for new blood. Shipowners and charterers can also look to Marine Online’s extensive network for a wide array of maritime training at competitive rates for their seafarers.
Crewing Online News Team
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