Shortage of Officers in the world

There is a shortage of qualified marine officers in the world:

This shortage is expected to widen when the Covid-19 pandemic is over.

They’re short of officers that will accept ITF wages, which are hard to live on in a developed county.


There will be lots of qualified officers queuing for the chance to enjoy 6 days leave a month, food that you wouldn’t feed your dog, and send home money that makes working the forecourt of the gas station back home look attractive.


There is a shortage of Officers of all kinds on ships of different kinds and under different flags.
How much the Owners/Operators/Ship Managers are willing to pay and what kind of terms they offer, I guess will depend on how desperate they are to find qualified people to fill the vacancies.

I am also quit sure that they don’t want to pay more because of someone’s race or nationality, as long as they don’t offer better qualifications, skills or special experience needed for particular types of vessels, or special tasks.

It is a free market, with free competition in the best capitalistic tradition. (What is needed and what have you got to offer?)

That may be. I have friends that pilot the Off-take tankers in the field and they get to eat the food that the crew gets while onboard and they are not impressed. The supply boat berth is just across from the tanker berth and we used to crews coming back from shore with groceries like milk etc.
i am aware to of the food items that crew can order is restricted to a degree far beyond what we experienced.


That may apply to the hull and machinery but when it comes to the crew, the best capitalistic tradition is to pay as little as required and offer as little as absolutely necessary in way of benefits and conditions. There will always be people who are forced to accept whatever scraps are offered. Making those scraps the measure of a “free market” is disingenuous at best and a dangerous lie in fact.

The owners pay 1st world rates for the rights to build or purchase 1st world equipment and pay themselves 1st world salaries and live in 1st world plus palaces while striving to maintain indentured servitude and sharecropper practices for the labor that makes their own lifestyle possible.


That is true. Shipping being an international and highly competitive business. Shipowners/operators/managers do not pay more than they have to for anything, incl. crew.
But they also look at what give them an edge over the competition. If that require better quality ships, equipment, or crew, they weight costs vs. benefits.
The cost of having accidents is not only in $$$, but also in reputation.
Thus, to save some $$ on cheap ships, cheap operations and under qualified crews can quickly cost a lot of $$$.
But from there to paying 3-4 times more for ships, or for crew, than the competition is NOT good business.
(Unless that is the only way to be in a particular trade. or get a particular cargo)

PS> Not ALL shipowners/managers live in mansions, travel in private planes, or pay themselves millions of $$$.

Boy the windows to your sauna are rose colored…


No. Maybe you have problems seeing very far?:

@DamnYankee is on U.S. flag ship on a commercial run, likely he talks to agents, pilots, chandlers, techs in foreign ports same as I do. Not to mention an occasional quick trip ashore if time and schedule allows.


I presume he meet a lot of these awful shipowner/operators/managers on his trips ashore?

I know that there are the types that couldn’t care less about safety and the crew’s welfare. (Mostly with a finance or accountant background)

I also know of (or know personally) some that not only make speeches and write nice “stories” about how they care for crew safety and welfare, but actually mean it. Most of those have proper shipping, or even seafaring, background.

Don’t assume that all iare the same, in shipping as in any other business.

No one, except maybe you, said anything about “them” all being the same.

That practice is what fuels the race to the bottom. The only thing preventing outright slavery is international treaties that force a bare minimum of humane treatment for seafarers. Even with those treaties and the best efforts of NGOs like the ITF we still see slaveships in the fishing industry and abandoned crews when it suits the owners.

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ITF is a “Union of Unions” with abt. 600,000 members world wide:
What is the ITF? | ITF Seafarers.
I don’t know if any of the US Mariner’s Unions are full members, or affiliated with ITF.(??)

But even with the best effort of ITF, IMO and others, there are still things happening in the shipping world that should not occure in the 21st century.

It’s not even that. MARAD keeps making the same bullshit claim and even if it were true (there’s still plenty of US mariners out of work) it’s because employers don’t pay enough to tempt people into working in this industry. If the money was there the crew would be there.

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This is true.

As for MARAD, the claim of not enough US mariners is based on a wartime scenario where all cargo is moved on US flagged ships. This just will never happen in reality unless MARAD can figure out how to gainfully employ all those extra mariners during peacetime. Right now, as far as US officers go, there is an exact match of number needed with number sailing (leaving aside for the moment those looking for jobs but not finding any and therefore not sailing on their license).

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Now, THAT I would like to see proof of, unless you speak of idiosyncratic personalities like Warren Buffet, who lives in a modest house. Don’t think he owns any ships, though.

I worked for a German ship owner who drove a battered old Volvo and during the weekend rode a bicycle to the office, flew coach everywhere and had some sixty ships under management as well as his own tonnage.


And he is not alone.
OK maybe not All use Volvos though.

Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller was know as a fugal man, although he was among the richest in the world he is said to have used a bicycle to go to work. He died in 2012 at age 98-

Driving an old Volvo is no indicator, except maybe fanaticism. I personally would drive nothing else, and have done for 54 years. I really just wanted to give Ombugge something to do in a good natured way. It never ceases to amaze me how much different stuff he’s able to dredge up. I guess I should have put the smiley on that first post. I’ll do it now. :slightly_smiling_face:
Lets move onto the humble abodes, now. :smile:

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As a cadet (around 15 years ago) I worked on ships that were fully crewed by Filipinos (except from me), they were getting a good bit less than ITF wages, they worked 12 month contracts with 3 months vacation, the company went out of the way to hire people from the same family so that if someone tried to quit and join another company the company would threaten to sack their whole family if they did, it was also to stop them from jumping ship in the USA, they knew if they jumped ship all their family members would get sacked.

If you reached the end of your 12 month contract and they couldn’t find you a reliever you had to stay onboard without pay until they could find one. They only got around 20% of their salaries when they were onboard, the company kept the other 80% until they got home and posted all their seafarers documents and passports to the company office who kept them so they couldn’t join another company…

Still a lot of really bad companies out there.

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