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Maritime labor market

According to the International Shipping Federation (ISF), more than 1.25 million seafarers representing 150 countries worked in the world navy in 2000, while the Philippines, which supplied about 20% of all seafarers to the fleet, is a long-standing leader in the maritime labor market.

In the maritime labor market today, with a significant excess of supply of ordinary personnel, there is a growing shortage of command personnel. At the same time, the shortage of the most qualified sailors — captains and senior mechanics — is most acute.

The most significant maritime labor market research is jointly conducted by BIMCO and ISF. This market was analyzed in 1990, 1995, 2000, and at the final stage of the study, which will be published in 2005.

A recent study (BIMCO / ISF 2000 Manpower Update), which I already wrote about in BlackSeaTrans magazine (No. 2, 2002), showed that in 2000, 404 thousand officers and 823 thousand were offered to the global maritime labor market privates. At the same time, the real need for crew in 2000 was estimated as follows: 420 thousand places for officers and 599 thousand for ordinary soldiers. This means that the shortage of officers reached 16 thousand people, while the excess of ordinary naval personnel exceeded the needs by 224 thousand people.

To the credit of our country, it is worth noting that it is one of the leaders in delivering officers to the market.

The authors of the study noted that the number of officers from countries with lesser maritime traditions and level of education is growing, which is why cultural and linguistic barriers are increasingly appearing on ships.

As for the forecast for the next decade, he warns of growing imbalances in the structure of the crew. Assuming that the number of ships of the world fleet will grow in the same way as between 1995 and 2000, that is, by 1% annually, the researchers estimated the shortage of officers by 2010 at 46 thousand people and an excess the rank and file of 255 thousand people.

Studies have also shown that by 2000, the shift in supply centers for most of the workforce to the world merchant fleet from Western Europe, North America, Japan to the Far East, Eastern Europe and India continued. If in 1995 sailors from the most developed countries accounted for 31.5% of the total world workforce, in 2000 only 27.5%. In this case, there was a significant decrease in the number of junior assistants to the captain and mechanics from the most developed countries.

Analysis of the age composition of officers from developed countries, many of whom hold the positions of captains, senior mechanics, showed: 40% of them already have an age of more than 50 years and 18% are more than 55 years old. Leaving them without an adequate replacement can have dramatic consequences. Many representatives of shipping companies claim that in five to ten years, most senior officers in the world fleet will be from countries in Asia and Eastern Europe.
But the reality is not so simple, as polls have shown: very few officers, for example, from the countries of the Far East or India, agree to work at sea after 50 years. In any case, for Ukrainian and Russian officers this situation is objectively favorable for a successful career in the merchant navy.

If you look at the national composition of the sailors, it turns out that only 10 countries supply the world fleet with 51% of all officers and 59% of privates. The Philippines lead by a wide margin, “exporting” about 230 thousand sailors, followed by Indonesia and China (80 thousand each), Turkey (65 thousand) and Russia (60 thousand).

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