IMO Secretary General Efthimios Mitropoulos has renewed his call for action on recruitment into the shipping industry. He used part of his welcome speech on Monday to delegates at IMO the Design and Equipment Sub-Committee.
Justifying raising the issue he said that he considered it “to be of such fundamental importance to the future of the shipping industry that I wish to share my concerns on it with you: I am referring to the anticipated disconcerting shortage of qualified merchant navy officers in the near future and, therefore, the need not only to retain existing seafarers, but also to attract young people to the seafaring profession”.
He continued: “In the face of a grave looming manpower crisis (first reported in 2005 and also last year), it is important, were we to reverse the trend, to portray shipping as an industry that can provide a career path that matches the aspirations of the ambitious and capable young people it urgently needs to attract and retain. Indeed, if the global pool of competent and efficient seafarers, who are properly qualified and certified, is to meet demand, then seafaring must be presented to young generations as a viable career choice for people of the right calibre.”
In November, the IMO chief noted, an initiative was undertaken for “just the kind of urgent action the issue merits”. He said: “Jointly with the ILO, ICS/ISF, BIMCO, INTERCARGO, INTERTANKO and ITF, we launched the “Go to Sea!” campaign to attract new entrants to the shipping industry with the specific aim of promoting seafaring as an attractive career option for the young, providing them with rewarding, stimulating and long-term prospects, not only at sea but also in the broader maritime industry.” He urged governments and industry to promote among youngsters the attractions of a career at sea and by encouraging them to consider it as a first class choice. To be successful, he said, three things were needed:
1. An enhanced, more favourable public perception of the maritime industry;
2. A greater knowledge among young people of the opportunities offered by a career at sea and
3. a marked shift in the quality of life at sea by bringing it more closely in line with the career alternatives available ashore. – source MGN