The report is the result of over a year’s work by BIMCO, ISF and the Institute of Employment Research at Warwick University, collecting data from maritime administrations and shipping companies to build up a comprehensive picture of the global situation regarding the availability of seafarers for the world’s merchant fleet. The worldwide supply of seafarers is estimated at 466,000 officers and 721,000 ratings, while the worldwide demand is estimated at 476,000 officers and 586,000 ratings.
The Manpower Update thus reveals a continuing shortage of qualified officers, of around 10,000 or 2% of the total workforce, and a significant surplus of ratings. Key issues arising from the report include:
- The continuing supply shift from OECD to the Far East, South-East Asia and Eastern Europe;
- An increasing overall demand for seafarers, with particular pressure on certain grades and ship types;
- Ageing OECD senior officers and a lack of replacements from elsewhere
- The need to increase training and recruitment and to reduce wastage.
In summary, BIMCO and ISF conclude that there is a modest shortage of officers worldwide and a continuing surplus of ratings. While the shortfall of officers is smaller than forecast in 2000, certain sectors of the industry have experienced severe shortages, and the continuing growth of the world fleet, combined with work pressures on crews, indicate that demand for qualified seafarers will continue to increase over the next decade. This demand will only be met if the increase in levels of recruitment and training is maintained and if wastage rates are reduced.