For those who have funded themselves, it can be very hard (read, next to impossible) to get the necessary 30 days sea-time. There are many seafarers out in the market today, all desperate to qualify as DPO, but they can’t get past this second hurdle. There is currently no formal system of placing, and progress thereafter is effectively blocked.
Experienced and committed seafarers who have decided to invest in their own career are struggling to get sea-time – Many after writing reams of application letters, hundreds of printed resumes and pleading emails are unfortunately giving up on their DP dream.
IDPOA www.dpoperators.org is working to bridge the gap between these DP trainees and the owners/operators that may be able to provide the “Phase2” 30 days sea-time. The “Berthing Pool” project is in its infancy, but is floundering because of a lack of industry buy-in. The idea is to create an online database of trainees and available positions. This scheme could ensure that trainees are at least aware of who may be offering trainee places onboard.
Being completely open and honest, it would be hard to recommend to anyone to try and get into DP at the moment without employer support or a cast iron guarantee of sea-time. Not until there is a formal recognition and a solution to the problems of getting sea-time and of the blockage in the training system. It is saddening and frustrating to have to write that, but that is the truth. For those who are intent on trying, good luck and hopefully your faith and investment will be repaid.
There is a recruitment time bomb ticking. Unless something is done, there is going to be an incredible shortage of DPO’s when work starts coming in, and with so many newbuild DP2&3 vessels set to come onstream, as well as many vessels being retrofitted, the conveyor belt of talent needed to ensure safe and efficient DP operations into the future is not being fed.