Shipping Groups Warn of 'Serious Shortage' of Seafarers by 2026

by Ship & Bunker News Team
Wednesday July 28, 2021

Shipping groups are warning that the industry may be facing a 'serious shortage' of seafarers in as little as five years from now.

Industry groups BIMCO and the International Chamber of Shipping made the warning in their new Seafarer Workforce Report, published on Wednesday.

"The industry must significantly increase training and recruitment levels if it is to avoid a serious shortage in the total supply of officers by 2026," the organisations said in an emailed statement on Wednesday.

"Given the growing demand for STCW certified officers, the report predicts that there will be a need for an additional 89,510 officers by 2026 to operate the world merchant fleet.

"The report estimates that 1.89 million seafarers currently serve the world merchant fleet, operating over 74,000 vessels around the globe."

While there has been a 10.8% increase in the supply of STCW-certified officers since 2015, there is still currently a deficit of 26,240 of these seafarers, the organisations said.

The COVID-19 pandemic has covered a grim period for seafarers, with lockdown measures around the world preventing crew changes for long stretches of time and national authorities being slow to designate them as key workers and provide priority access to vaccines.