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BIMCO/ICS Manpower Report Predicts Potential Shortage of Almost 150,000 Officers by 2025

Launched yesterday evening at the International Maritime Organization, the latest five-year BIMCO/ICS Manpower Report forecasts a serious future shortage in the supply of seafarers.  The report identifies:

• A current shortfall of about 16,500 officers (2.1%), but 
• A need for an additional 147,500 officers by 2025 to service the world merchant fleet. 

The global supply of officers is forecast to increase steadily, but this is predicted to be outpaced by increasing demand.
Some officer categories are in especially short supply, including engineer officers at management level and officers needed for specialised ships such as chemical, LNG and LPG carriers.

The report suggests that in the past five years the industry has made good progress with increasing recruitment and training levels and reducing officer wastage (i.e. retaining qualified seafarers and increasing the number of years which they serve at sea). But the report indicates that, unless training levels are increased significantly, the growth in demand for seafarers could generate a serious shortage in the total supply of officers.

However, the report estimates there is a current surplus of about 119,000 ratings (15.8%), with demand only having increased by about 1% since 2010.  

Significantly, China is thought to have overtaken the Philippines as the largest single source of seafarers qualified for international trade (although the Philippines is still the largest source of ratings). However, data from international shipping companies suggests that the extent to which Chinese seafarers are available for international service may be more limited, with the Philippines and Russia seen as equally important sources of officers, followed closely by Ukraine and India.

BIMCO CEO, Angus Frew, said: "BIMCO and ICS have once again collaborated closely to produce valuable in-depth analysis of maritime manpower trends. The industry can put this report to good use by ensuring we can continue to operate the world merchant fleet with sufficient numbers of qualified and competent seafarers."

ICS Secretary General, Peter Hinchliffe commented: "Without continuing efforts to promote careers at sea and improve levels of recruitment and retention, the report suggests it cannot be guaranteed that there will be an abundant supply of seafarers in the future."  

A summary of the key figures in the report can be downloaded free of charge from home pages of the BIMCO and ICS websites.

The full BIMCO/ICS Manpower Report can be purchased from Marisec Publications

For BIMCO members please order via our shop.


Notes to Editors 

About the Manpower Report

The Manpower Report from BIMCO and the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) is the most comprehensive study of the shipping industry's global workforce.  Published every five years since 1990, the latest report contains detailed data analysis to show how the maritime workforce has evolved since 2010. It also forecasts likely supply and demand over the next 5 and 10 years and suggests how this balance may change using various scenarios.

This new report includes data from 2010-2015 and, for the first time, analysis of qualitative data from maritime professionals who work at the 'sharp end'. This includes seafarers' unions, maritime education and training institutions and manning agents.

This major project was overseen by a Steering Committee of industry representatives chaired by Douglas Lang (Anglo Eastern), with the assistance of DM Consulting and Dalian Maritime University.

For further information, please contact:

Debra Massey – Elaborate Communications
Tel: +44 1296 682375 
Email: dmassey@elabor8.co.uk 

Leslea Petersen
Tel: +45 44 366811
Email: pr@bimco.org


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