Seafarer shortage

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.

There is a 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 ?

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

Shipping industry leaders and legislators should come together again to discuss the situation.

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.

A concept has been put forward 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.

There is no doubt, this will have a long-term impact on the quality of crew joining the industry in the foreseeable future.

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Mr Sam Chambers