BIMCO report on officer shortages

Am I the only one tired of hearing about the perceived lack of qualified officers in the industry? Wouldn’t the laws of supply and demand kick in at some point with wages increasing substantially to attract and retain the best and brightest? Lets be honest. There are plenty of qualified marine officers in the world, just not enough willing to work for the peanuts these companies want to pay. The age old law stands. You get what you pay for.

From my U.S. licensed officer perspective, the companies have done everything they can to make going to sea as miserable as possible by trimming perks wherever they can. We lose good people every year simply because they become disgusted with the people they work for. People who have never gone to sea for a living do not understand that leaving your family and putting your life on hold for a minimum of 6 months a year requires a specific person and a compensation package to make it worthwhile. I’m just tired of the complaining about whether they will have enough “qualified” people to do the thinking on these ships. Make it a job like the tech sector that people are beating the doors down to get a shot in. Sailors are motivated by one thing overall. Money

[QUOTE=DamnYankee;184618]Am I the only one tired of hearing about the perceived lack of qualified officers in the industry? Wouldn’t the laws of supply and demand kick in at some point with wages increasing substantially to attract and retain the best and brightest? Lets be honest. There are plenty of qualified marine officers in the world, just not enough willing to work for the peanuts these companies want to pay. The age old law stands. You get what you pay for.

From my U.S. licensed officer perspective, the companies have done everything they can to make going to sea as miserable as possible by trimming perks wherever they can. We lose good people every year simply because they become disgusted with the people they work for. People who have never gone to sea for a living do not understand that leaving your family and putting your life on hold for a minimum of 6 months a year requires a specific person and a compensation package to make it worthwhile. I’m just tired of the complaining about whether they will have enough “qualified” people to do the thinking on these ships. Make it a job like the tech sector that people are beating the doors down to get a shot in. Sailors are motivated by one thing overall. Money[/QUOTE]

Have you been paying attention to the tech sector? Intel and other companies playing the H1-B shuffle by laying off qualified Americans and forcing them to train their Indian replacements. They get away with it, too. The shipping companies are salivating at the chance to do the same thing to us, and that is why you are seeing these articles repeatedly surface in the news. The public is being primed for the next big rape and pillage of an American industry. It’s already going on with Jones act waivers. The muckity mucks have the public convinced that American mariners make their plastic Chinese made shit more expensive.

BOHICA.

There is a lack of officers 1) of the quality and experience they want 2) at the price they desire to pay.

[QUOTE=catherder;184619]Have you been paying attention to the tech sector? Intel and other companies playing the H1-B shuffle by laying off qualified Americans and forcing them to train their Indian replacements. They get away with it, too. The shipping companies are salivating at the chance to do the same thing to us, and that is why you are seeing these articles repeatedly surface in the news. The public is being primed for the next big rape and pillage of an American industry. It’s already going on with Jones act waivers. The muckity mucks have the public convinced that American mariners make their plastic Chinese made shit more expensive.

BOHICA.[/QUOTE]

Well put. The reason I mentioned the tech sector was that they seem to have a reputation for a place that people actually want to work in and the best talent is wooed with high compensation. The use of foreign, low wage workers has and will continue to be a problem throughout the U.S. with only the top tier of the financial pyramid benefitting. I’m just tired of reading these B.S. articles.

[QUOTE=DeckApe;184623]There is a lack of officers 1) of the quality and experience they want 2) at the price they desire to pay.[/QUOTE]

Hit the nail on the head. “I cannot find enough qualified workers (at the wages I want to pay)”

This from Maasmond Newsletter today:

Act now to retain our seafarers, says InterManager InterManager has welcomed the joint BIMCO/ICS Manpower Report, but says it should act as a wake-up call for the industry to address the issue of the accelerating shortage of seafarers. Speaking soon after the report was published, InterManager Secretary-General, Capt Kuba Szymanski said shipping should not sit on its laurels when it comes to the recruitment and retention of seafarers. “Our people are our assets and we need to develop a strategy whereby shipping is once again seen as a career of choice for tomorrow’s young talented people.“There is no avoiding the fact that the global fleet is increasing and more manpower is needed. However, we are demanding more from current seafarers rather than recruiting even more cadets into the market. And these cadets need training berths on our ships if they are to fulfil their true potential. Attracting new seafarers and retaining them will test the industry, but we are taking action now with initiatives such as the single window, paperless shipping and project MARTHA to address this issue.” Capt Szymanski said.

An international problem, not a US one apparently.

Pay more money, problem solved

[QUOTE=z-drive;184645]Pay more money, problem solved[/QUOTE]

Yeah but…Money is nice, and important but it is only part of the picture. As I see it, there are three factors. Freedom, Fun and Money. Freedom is easy crew changes, liberty, schedule flexibility when you need it etc. Fun is working on nice equipment, access to email offshore, good grub, nice accommodations etc. Money is getting paid above average, great 401k match, benefits etc.

Freedom, Fun, Money [U]PICK TWO OF THESE, YOU DON’T GET ALL THREE[/U]

You can get two, you are doing well. A fun job with lots of freedom, pay will suck.

If you have a job with great Money but no fun or freedom, you will be miserable.

[QUOTE=psquiggs;184653]Yeah but…Money is nice, and important but it is only part of the picture. As I see it, there are three factors. Freedom, Fun and Money. Freedom is easy crew changes,[B] liberty[/B], schedule flexibility when you need it etc. Fun is working on [B]nice equipment, access to email offshore, good grub, nice accommodations[/B] etc. Money is getting paid above average, great 401k match, benefits etc.

Freedom, Fun, Money [U]PICK TWO OF THESE, YOU DON’T GET ALL THREE[/U]

You can get two, you are doing well. A fun job with lots of freedom, pay will suck.

If you have a job with great Money but no fun or freedom, you will be miserable.[/QUOTE]

Have you worked on a US car carrier or box boat (NOT MATSON) recently? You’re delusional if you think you have any chance at getting 2 out of 3.

This original article is directed at shipping (not about brown water or upstream). In the US Flag commercial fleet (not Grey of any kind) the best you can hope for is good pay and good health/dental insurance. The pensions at MEBA and MMP are not what they used to be, and neither is the company IRAP contributions. And just 2 mos ago MLL is making hard attempts at slashing ship food budgets by as much as 25%, all while enjoying incredibly low bunker prices. We get whatever MLL or APL or ISC hands us, and make it work, no matter how old or fucked up. The new Tote and Crowley container & RO/Cons are an exception to the rule because they are Jones Act, but they also are practically a once every 30-40 yrs thing. Once the next round of Matson Jones Act ships get built they will probably be the last freighters built in the USA for 2-3 decades.

The only thing likely to change is bigger ships with more accountability for the same wages. MLL’s USA “G” class (total of at least 8) are teetering on the chopping block. The former US flag Maersk Wyoming is already destined for the beaches of Alang.

…And the talk is already to bring in “A” class… which are even bigger than “Ks,” which are measurably bigger than the “Gs.”

I wish it weren’t so, but it’s what I see, repeatedly, in the US fleet.

[QUOTE=Johnny Canal;184657]Have you worked on a US car carrier or box boat (NOT MATSON) recently? You’re delusional if you think you have any chance at getting 2 out of 3.

This original article is directed at shipping (not about brown water or upstream). In the US Flag commercial fleet (not Grey of any kind) the best you can hope for is good pay and good health/dental insurance. The pensions at MEBA and MMP are not what they used to be, and neither is the company IRAP contributions. And just 2 mos ago MLL is making hard attempts at slashing ship food budgets by as much as 25%, all while enjoying incredibly low bunker prices. We get whatever MLL or APL or ISC hands us, and make it work, no matter how old or fucked up. The new Tote and Crowley container & RO/Cons are an exception to the rule because they are Jones Act, but they also are practically a once every 30-40 yrs thing. Once the next round of Matson Jones Act ships get built they will probably be the last freighters built in the USA for 2-3 decades.

The only thing likely to change is bigger ships with more accountability for the same wages. MLL’s USA “G” class (total of at least 8) are teetering on the chopping block. The former US flag Maersk Wyoming is already destined for the beaches of Alang.

…And the talk is already to bring in “A” class… which are even bigger than “Ks,” which are measurably bigger than the “Gs.”

I wish it weren’t so, but it’s what I see, repeatedly, in the US fleet.[/QUOTE]

Oh man you are right in line with why I started this thread. I’ve heard about the food issues over at Maersk and even some other BS about short staffing the mooring stations during docking ops to save money on overtime. It’s a dangerous game to mess with a seaman’s food and money. It would be refreshing to read an article about the “bean counter” mentality that has permeated the industry being eschewed for a more common sense approach to vessel operations but we all know that is not going to happen. The lawyers, MBA’s, and accountants won gents. We’re just the serfs who are soon to be replaced by drone ships. I’m super stoked…

But they’ll give more money before anything else so that’s where I place the emphasis. Ultimately the other things matter more to me personally.

For me, money is becoming less important then my quality of life. Shipping has become more miserable in the last seventeen years. I’d gladly take a large pay cut if I had a corresponding large increase in quality of life. I know that won’t happen.

It seems the loudest voices (mariners and their unions) are the ones crying out for more money. This plays directly into the hands of the bean counters who would rather hire non-American mariners because we cost less.

It won’t matter. Sooner or later they’ll replace many of us with automation. The reduction of jobs will result in an oversupply of mariners which will drive down wages for the humans and without an increase in our quality of life.

Some Shipowners/Managers see the need for better welfare and standard of accommodations etc. as a way of attracting qualified officers to their ships:

NORBULK SHIPPING WARNS SHORTAGE OF OFFICERS COULD LEAD TO MORE COMPETITION BETWEEN SHIP MANAGERS Leading ship management company Norbulk Shipping has warned that the shortage of officers highlighted in the BIMCO/ICS Manpower report, could lead to an accelerated level of competition between ship managers. Glasgow-based Norbulk Shipping believes that despite the worrying prediction that there will be a shortfall of 147,500 officers over the next ten years, quality ship owners could in fact benefit from the lack of qualified officers Director of Nobulk Shipping Peter Karlsen said: “Although the figures published in the report are very worrying, we could see something positive coming out of it. The shortage of skilled officers could actually lead to more competition between the operators. “Experienced officers will have a greater choice of employers, which may give an advantage to quality ship managers and owners. Those who have built up a good reputation and offer a high standard of crew welfare will have a better chance of recruiting the experienced officers.”

This is nothing new in the Offshore industry, where “comfort” has become a must at the high end of the market.
DNV has offered their Comfort Class for many years now: http://www.dnvusa.com/industry/maritime/publicationsanddownloads/publications/special_ships/2009/01_2009/QuieteroffshorevesselsaresafershipssaysDNV.asp

This is also one of the main reasons behind the X-Bow design: http://ulstein.com/innovations/x-bow

INCREASED COMFORT
The bow shape eliminates slamming and bow impact, thereby reducing noise and vibration. This leads to a more comfortable workplace and more effective rest time for the crew.

Can we conclude that comfort, fair treatment and fair pay is as important to seafarers as just “HIGH PAY”?