Tackling the seafarer supply problem
Kwek, Natalie Lu Yi
Date of Issue2017-05-15
School of Civil and Environmental Engineering
The BIMCO/ ICS Manpower Report on seafarer demand and supply has been highlighting the quantity and quality shortage of officers since 1990. The shortage is attributed to inadequacy in supply to meet the expeditious demand. With marine officers holding a distinctive profession and having significant importance in ensuring a safe navigation, such persisting issue of shortfall has been affecting every shipping nation. Hence, it has raised considerable industrial attention over the past decades to examine this matter. Researchers have predicted the officer supply shortage, its detriments to the marine industry and ultimately, the world’s economy. However, there are still insufficient studies done to specifically identify the root causes for shortage. Likewise, feasibility studies on existing strategies implemented are inadequate. Thus, viable solutions to target the fundamental causes of shortage are deficiently devised. Consequently, veterans complained about the lack in quality of officers supplied. Therefore, given the research gaps and significant negative impacts of officer shortfall, there is a need to study how this long-drawn shortage can be tackled. With shipping being primarily governed by regulations and its increased technology utilization in a Smarter Age, this paper attempts to verify if marine regulations and technologies have contributed to the shortage. Additionally, this paper will evaluate the productivity of current practice or undergoing research study implemented for shortage mitigation. In particular, tripartism and application of unmanned vessels. Thereupon, propose workable solutions targeting the primary contributors could resolve the prevalent shortage, which is observed to worsen in 10 years’ time. This paper will focus on a global context to yield a comprehensive evaluation. Analysis was performed with inference between Singapore and other nations. Preliminary researches were first conducted to have a better overview of the research topic, through which, facilitated identification of research scope. Thereafter, qualitative interviews and quantitative surveys were performed to obtain beneficial insights significant to the research scope. Industrial veterans from namely the maritime educational institutions, unions and the ship-owning or ship management companies, who have extensive knowledge across all marine sectors were interviewed. The procedure of data collection is clearly laid out in the chapter of research methodology. After a meticulous research, it was ascertained that marine regulations’ complexity, officers’ negative attitudes, unequal training cost burden coupled with the use of fraudulent certifications by officers, inflexibly demanding nature of tanker trade, and officers’ over-reliance on technologies were identified as the contributing sources. The general consensus highlighted that a right mix of recruitment and retention marketing strategies together with greater synergies between the government, employers and unions, are useful solutions to rectify the prevailing and future supply shortage. With the objectives met and key considerations accentuated, this report strives to serve as a stepping-stone for future developments of shortage mitigation and also, as a reference for subsequent researches.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University