Crew Shortage

In this area, you can comment on employers, trends, jobs, rumors affecting the jobs and job prospect of Marine Engineers.

Do you think there is a real shortage of Marine Engineers ?

Yes - all ranks
22
43%
No - perhaps some ranks
11
22%
Yes - but only senior ranks
11
22%
No - Not at all
7
14%
 
Total votes: 51

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The Dieselduck
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Insurers and owners fear crew shortage

Postby The Dieselduck » Fri Sep 14, 2007 9:29 pm

Insurers and owners fear crew shortage
Denzil Stuart, 13 September 2007 Lloyds List

BIGGER yachts, bigger sleek and bigger glitz just about sums up the visual impact of the Monaco Yacht Show. But behind all the razzle-dazzle the owners and charterers are facing a problem that is escalating by the day, and is also causing a lot of concern among yacht insurers.

As with merchant ships, the yachting sector is suffering from a substantial shortage of qualified and experienced crew. This was a dominant theme running through this week’s annual meeting in Copenhagen of the International Union of Marine Insurance.

Indeed, IUMI’s Ole Wikborg, an executive committee member, presented a workshop/discussion panel on the ‘Future Shortage of Experience’.

The inland hull, fishing vessels and yachting committee was represented by Paul Miller, one of the most seasoned yacht underwriters in the Lloyd’s market, who pointed out that orderbooks are bulging and values are rising as the number of megayachts increases.

He says there are currently over 450 semi-custom and custom yachts in build over 30m in length. It is estimated that these boats alone will need 5,000 crew, while the top 30 will need 1,000 crew in their own right.

These 450 builds represent an orderbook somewhere in the region of €10bn ($13.8bn) at current market values.

He argues that if the owners of these megayachts want the best they will pay for it, and that commercial shipping will not win the tug-of-war over the best crews.

He says: “We are regularly seeing the best captains being offered six figure salaries, with employment contracts including full health coverage and death-in-service benefits of anything between 5-10 times salary.

“Salaries are clearly higher on yachts which do not charter to make up for the loss of gratuities and we are clearly seeing a huge growth in this area where the very, very rich do not wish to share their assets with anybody.”

Mr Miller thinks the biggest impact on the yacht market in the foreseeable future will be the new ILO Maritime Labour Convention 2006 which will affect hours of work and minimum hours of rest.

They were already seeing the concept of ‘shadow boats’ emerging, and he forecast rapid expansion in this area. “Not only do they solve a problem for the owner who wants a bigger boat but does not want to wait — they may well be the solution to the ILO problem,” he says.

These new vessels will be adapted or extended to carry a full replacement set of crew for the main vessel, particularly at the lower ranks and service levels rather than the senior officers, where the owner, guests and charterers want constant attention.

Owners do not want to devote more onboard space to crew quarters on what are already expensive toys; it is far quicker, cheaper and easier to build or convert a shadow vessel than extend or build an even more expensive megayacht.

Before the IUMI conference, Mr Miller told Lloyd’s List there had been a couple of large losses recently but, unfortunately, not enough to move the market upwards. New players were entering the market, but he questioned if they were here for the long term.

He also queried if the industry will be impacted by the recent drop in international money and stock markets. Money is not cheap any more, he said, and this could conceivably stop the speculators and result in cancelled newbuild orders.

Meanwhile, Mr Miller’s company, Underwriting Risk Services, the agency that is part of the Talbot group, is launching a new product at the Monaco Yacht Show. Yachtsure 24 is a free helpline service for URS policyholders. In essence, it is an expanded instant claims response line available 24/7. “It is a bespoke product that will be particularly useful to owners in dealing with non-insurance issues like warranty claims,” says Mr Miller.

Minton Treharne and Davies, the international marine engineering and survey group, is managing the helpline, and the Shipowners club and British Marine, which write most yacht P&I business, are supporting the concept. Yachtsure 24 is a risk management tool, Mr Miller added, that could prove very valuable to owner and insurer alike.

A relative newcomer to the yacht insurance market is AXA Corporate Solutions. As a marine insurer it already participates in covering 25% of the worldwide merchant fleet, but now aims to be a recognised leader in the booming megayacht sector, both for navigating and building risks.

The company has created a dedicated yacht underwriting team who have the technical support of a former megayacht captain.

In a highly competitive market, AXA Corporate Solutions is currently developing a package product for yachts by pooling resources within the group to offer non-traditional marine coverage. The new product will be launched soon, and members of the yacht team will participate in the Monaco and Cannes yacht events.

As the size and value of yacht construction projects have soared in recent years, so too has the significance of the security offered by builders for the instalments of the purchase price payable prior to delivery.

According to Panos Pourgourides, a partner in the yacht team at Hill Dickinson, this imperative has become even more acute in circumstances where many projects now take three to five years from contract to delivery. It is further compounded by the security requirements of the banks and other lenders involved in the provision of pre-delivery construction finance.
Last edited by The Dieselduck on Fri Sep 14, 2007 9:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Fears raised over dredging crew shortages

Postby The Dieselduck » Fri Sep 14, 2007 9:30 pm

Fears raised over dredging crew shortages
James Brewer, 13 September 2007 Lloyds List

A WORLD shortage of quality crew in the marine dredging sector is a concern for protection and indemnity insurers, says William Tobin, an underwriter with Shipowners Protection, a member of the International Group of P&I Clubs, writes James Brewer.

He says that, as with other sectors of shipping, dredging capability is in growing demand.

“The complex nature of the business demands lengthy training periods for technical crew,” he said. “This means that replacing the current pool of crew will require substantial investment over a lengthy period.”

The dredging industry competes with other maritime related industries for personnel, as well as shore-based opportunities, which can appear more attractive.

Among present issues are the ambition of officers to seek positions of command too quickly and commercial pressures.

Many crew, including dredge masters, spend their shifts behind control panels, quite a different role from that of the master in many conventional vessels.

Crew have to be up to date with technology and innovative, particularly on the construction side, as seen in extensive land reclamation projects in the Middle East.

Mr Tobin said there was no easy answer to resolving the crew shortage in the short term, and continuing investment in training was required.

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Shipowners blasted for poor crewing standards

Postby The Dieselduck » Fri Sep 14, 2007 9:32 pm

Shipowners blasted for poor crewing standards
James Brewer, 12 September 2007 Lloyds List

SHIPOWNERS have been issued with a resounding warning about their neglect of crewing standards.

The crisis is threatening the wider industry as it invests increasingly heavily in sophisticated 21st century ships, delegates to the IUMI meeting was told.

In the vigorous debate about the causes of the rise in major full and partial losses, as well as surprisingly costly smaller incidents, several contributors turned the human error/crew error issue on its head. They blamed shipowners for ignoring the real issues in their concentration on asset trading and the chase for high freight rates.

John Poulson, president of the New York office of surveyors Noble Denton, blasted “a gradual erosion of professionalism, where we need to see it most — at sea. That stems from the failure to maintain an industry that can attract young people to a career.”

Many ships of poor standard are allowed to continue trading when they should have been scrapped, which in turn leads to greater competition between too many ships, leading to cheaper and cheaper crews in the effort to remain competitive. “This is a self-defeating vicious circle, if ever there was one,” Mr Poulson said.

“Regardless of classification, ISM audits, port state control inspection or whatever, the responsibility for the upkeep, seaworthiness, cargoworthiness, safety and competent crewing of a vessel is the owner’s — no one else’s.”

If the industry continues to hand the fate of seafaring over to those who actively encourage its relegation to a third-world occupation, this will also affect the rest of the industry, he said.

“The surveyors, the adjusters, the claims examiners, even the underwriters: what will be the point of maintaining and paying for all that expertise when the insured risk is blighted from the start?”

Economic opportunity has seen ships pushed hard, and maintenance and repairs deferred, Mr Poulson said. Lines have been crossed where managers have compromised decisions regarding safety, and fatigue has played a major role in accidents.

“Regrettably, things may get worse before they get better.”

Owners have ordered billions of tonnes of new vessels, but while there is already a shortage of seafarers, there are no significant new initiatives to ensure that these vessels are competently manned.

Referring to a market report that listed just a few days of second-hand and contracting deals totalling more than $2bn, Mr Poulson said that one would think that the primary consideration would be the manning of this valuable new tonnage.

“It evidently is not, and seems to be the last thing on the to-do list,” he said. “Perhaps owners will only ever take notice when their ships cannot leave port because they cannot man them — and of late, not surprisingly, there are instances of this happening.”

With many vessels sold more than once before even the keel is laid, owners could make more money on the basis of speculation than on operating, and this “does nothing for manning”.

A lack of investment in people and training had in the space of 30 years changed the face of the industry completely, and perhaps permanently. Some suggested, for instance, that the end of the hands-on practical seagoing marine engineer might well be in sight.

Mr Poulson said that history suggested it would again fall to underwriters to correct the situation, for there was little chance that shipowners would act unilaterally.

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Manning crisis brews perfect storm for energy sector

Postby The Dieselduck » Fri Sep 14, 2007 9:33 pm

Manning crisis brews perfect storm for energy sector
Jon Guy, 12 September 2007 Lloyds List

THE endemic shortage of qualified crews has dominated the second day of the IUMI conference, with a warning that the US energy market could be facing a crisis.

In an unprecedented session, senior members of the union’s committees took to the platform to discuss an issue that has become a sword of Damocles for underwriters and shipowners alike.

Energy and offshore committee vice- chairman Frank Costa warned that while the lack of qualified crews on the world’s vessels is a problem, the energy market faced similar if not more acute problems.

“The energy sector is cyclical, and as such, staff can be laid off during a downturn in the cycle. They leave the industry and move elsewhere and do not come back,” he said. “If you take the US energy market, statistics show that half the professionals in the market are due for retirement within the next 10 years. In man- power terms the sector is facing the perfect storm.”

He said only those firms that are prepared to keep staff and pay them even when the market is at its lowest ebb remain the winners in the long-term.

“The gap between the elite and the rest of the pack is widening,” he said.

Massimo Canepa, of the loss prevention committee, added that the shortage of crew was leading to desperate shipowners handing promotions and responsibility to crew members far too quickly.

“More often then not it is just a simple lack of knowledge that plays a role in incidents that result in claims,” he told delegates. “They have no idea what to do when conditions move away from the norm. They are simply unable to spot problems until it becomes apparent they are serious.”

He added that the flow of experienced mariners into the ancillary on-shore roles within shipping companies and at surveyors’ firms was beginning to dry up, leaving insurers facing the possibility of less skilled surveyors being used to inspect ships, both for risk assessment purposes and following incidents.

The rise of the superyacht is also luring the cream of mariners away from the merchant sector.

Paul Miller, of the inland hull, fishing vessels and yachting committee, said the superyachts now on order in the world’s yards would need 5,000 crew members, and with impending new working hours regulations, that figure could rise to 8,000.

“It is not unusual for the captain of the megayacht to be paid in excess of $300,000 a year,” he said. “That sort of figure will clearly attract the cream of the maritime industry and these private owners operate a ‘money no object’ policy to ensure they get the best crew.”

Legal and liability committee member Andrew Bardot added: “When you consider a fully-trained ships’ engineer is being offered $300,000 to work on a Russian oligarch’s megayacht between the Mediterranean and the Caribbean, or he can crew a bunker between Brazil and Australia for a fraction of the wage, there is little doubt where he will choose to work.”

The marine insurance market itself also came in for sharp criticism, with calls for both the industry and IUMI to step up their efforts to increase the competency of crews.

Peter McIntosh of the hull committee said: “It is said to err is human, but hull underwriters have been doing it consistently.”

He said there are questions to be asked on just how much information underwriters demand about the crews that are aboard the vessel they insure, and how they use that information.

“A lot of underwriters will look at the owner’s maintenance budget,” Mr McIntosh said. “But do we really look deeply enough to see what he spends it on or whether he spends it at all?

“Currently everyone blames everyone else. But I believe we need to examine whether the insurance industry can help in terms of training, greater understanding of the issues and quality of crews to reduce the threats to safety and life, and with it to improve our underwriting performance.”

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Call to seize ‘golden opportunity’ on cadet training to prev

Postby The Dieselduck » Fri Sep 14, 2007 9:36 pm

Call to seize ‘golden opportunity’ on cadet training to prevent crisis
Marcus Hand, 10 September 2007 Lloyds List

BOTH shipowners and managers are calling for immediate action to train more seafarers, and warning that the shortage of officers is set to get worse in the next couple of years

Speaking at Maritime Manpower Singapore 2007, K Line managing director Kenichi Kuroya stressed the need to act while the industry is making money.

“While the market is good, many owners can afford to provide money and cadet berths. This is a golden opportunity for us to take action,” he told the conference organised by the Singapore Maritime Officers Union. “When the market place is down, maybe its not the opportune time. We would like to see action today because education simply takes a long time,” he said.

Pradeep Chawla, director of quality assurance and training for Anglo-Eastern Ship Management, lashed out at shipowners for having failed to provide cadet berths in the past.

“All these years we’ve been shouting we need cadet berths. How do we put the people for training if you don’t give us the berths?” he asked.

“Two cadets per ship is the minimum intake required to sustain the supply of human resources in the maritime industry, and perhaps the only way to prevent future shortages is to make two cadets a mandatory requirement in the manning scales for ships.”

According to Capt Chawla, there was a failure to train cadets in the 1980s and 1990s. “Now the crisis is very much around us.”

Painting a grim picture for the next couple of years, he said, “I can guarantee the availability of officers is going down.”

He predicted that the worldwide shortage would continue in 2008 and 2009, even though crew supplying nations kept increasing the number of trainees being inducted into the seafaring profession.

For shipowners this will mean having to pay even more for crew next year, and Capt Chawla predicts wage rates will rise 15%. For senior officers on gas carriers, sector rises are expected to be higher, and he said described getting crew for LNG and LPG as being like “an auction”, with seafarers simply moving to the highest bidder.





‘I have seen the end of the best and the start of the worst’



7 September 2007



WHEN I was a seafarer I would probably have been horrified, if not furious, that my career and way of life was the subject matter for sociological studies like that of lost tribes of the Amazon.

Nowadays most seafarers probably welcome such attention which shows that someone ‘out there’ knows seafarers still exist.

“I am pleased to see that someone is interested in the life of Norwegian seamen. As a general rule here in Norway, we do not get much attention from anyone any more. We are part of a dying species.”

This caustic observation concluded a useful study by Kathy Mack of Mercer University into Norwegian seafarers’ career experiences, published in the latest edition of Maritime Policy and Management.

It is useful in that its subject matter could be transposed into any of the ‘traditional’ shipping nations whose workforces have been ruthlessly eroded by flags of convenience and their globalised workforce. But in a country like Norway, where shipping was such a strong part of society, its marginalisation is doubly depressing.

Mack studies seafaring as a career and a ‘calling’, which satisfies a sense of adventure and social status, with a good deal of pride in seafaring skills which themselves gave rise to technological advancements. She has interviewed a number of officers in a whole range of different trades, who have left her in no doubt that what she describes as the ‘hinderers’ to seafaring as a calling in Norway have effectively triumphed.

The study is a competent and undoubtedly accurate reflection of what these survivors of the once enormous Norwegian maritime workforce feel about contemporary seafaring.

Their observations, however are universal, noting the tickbox and checklist mentality that has permeated ship safety, the opressive regulation, overweening security, the endless paperwork . The remark: “As a Captain, I am more like an office worker today” will be recognised as entirely valid.

This sort of study, allied to those undertaken by bodies such as those emerging from Cardiff, is topical and valuable in that it provides a sort of academic validity to what most people close to the shipping industry know full well, but sometimes have difficulty enunciating.

In the great clear-out and globalisation of the 1980s and 1990s, which is still going on, too much of what was good was sacrificed on the altar of lower costs. Why do we need to evaluate this now? Because we are soon to suffer the mother and father of all manning crises.

“I have seen the end of the best and the start of the worst,” said the master of an offshore ship to Ms Mack. Says it all, really.

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Seatime should not be like jailtime

Postby The Dieselduck » Fri Sep 14, 2007 9:37 pm

Seatime should not be like jailtime
30 August 2007 Lloyds List

A DISTURBING, if not specially surprising, headline in the Mission to Seafarer’s newspaper The Sea catches the eye: “Working at sea is like being in prison, say some seafarers.” Perhaps it always was, at least in some ships and some trades.

In my old company we had a commodore who, when he was not terrorizing us afloat, sat as a magistrate in his home town when he was home on leave and was able to really frighten those unfortunate enough to come up before him on the bench.

He was a sort of one-man recruiter for the merchant navy and would offer the wretched miscreant the choice of six month’ jail and hard labour, which in those days meant breaking rocks, or signing on a ship, probably some awful tramp where they rationed the water and spent their lives cleaning out coal dust or guano from the furthest recesses of the holds.

And while the criminal, as he opted for a new sea career, probably thought he was going to enjoy a cruise, he would probably reflect in the months and years to come — we signed two-year articles in those cruel old days — that six months in the slammer might have been a better option. Perhaps it is a thought we might revisit with all these youth problems we are experiencing.

Tanker operations to me always had a whiff of the seaborne prison about it, although I never sailed in one. They always seemed very luxurious compared with our fairly basic accommodation, but it seemed poor compensation for never getting a run ashore as they transferred their oily cargoes from one heap of inhospitable sand to the end of a two-mile oil jetty on the other side of the world.

‘Tankeritis’ may not have been a notifiable disease, with pages on its treatment in the Ship Captain’s Medical Guide, but you could certainly recognise its symptoms as sufferers were gradually introduced back into polite society. ‘Stir crazy’ seemed to me to be an apt description.

But I should not joke about this article, which was a comment on some serious and timely research by the Seafarers’ International Research Centre in Cardiff on the efficacy of present-day welfare facilities for modern shipping circumstances.

Commissioned by the International Transport Workers Federation Seafarers’ Trust, the research was based on an extensive survey of the opinions of serving seafarers, who were able to express their views about their role in shipping today.

Not surprisingly, seafarers commented on the security problems they frequently encounter, with difficulties in obtaining shore leave, which in any case is constrained by the short time the ship is in port.

Traditional welfare services, based on seafarers’ centres close to the docks, may no longer be appropriate if the ‘customers’ cannot even get down the gangway.

It is significant that many of the providers are offering mobile facilities that will bring the welfare to the ship with vehicles or operations like that run by the Mission to Seafarers in Fujairah Roads, where the new support boat Flying Angel operates.

I suspect that most of the welfare agencies would have detected this trend, but the SIRC research offers valuable confirmation that seafarers, always out on the margins of society, risk being marginalised still further. But there are a lot of aspects in this research which have wider importance over and above welfare provision.

In a way it is a commentary of what we as society think about seafarers, who do a vitally important job but are really quite invisible in most countries.

The ships come and go, the goods appear in the shops and the refinery tanks are refilled, but no one thinks of how or why all this happens so smoothly.

No one thinks of the little communities of workers aboard their ships who are playing such an important role — no one, that is, except the chaplains and their staffs who do their darnedest, often against quite considerable odds, to show these seafarers that they really are appreciated.

I was reading recently about the way in which US society regards its military compared with the cavalier behaviour with which British forces in Iraq and Afghanistan have to put up. In neither country can their missions be described as popular, but in one homeland there is respect and appreciation of what it is they do and in the other complete apathy. In the latter case there is a sort of analogy with our appreciation of what seamen do for us. We just do not get it, here or abroad.

And what is particularly unpleasant is the way that in some countries and in some terminals not only can the seafarers not get ashore, but the welfare providers are not permitted aboard the ships.

Sometimes this is ‘official’ nastiness, but elsewhere, if you drill down to discover the roots of this unpleasantness, you will discover some swine in the terminal management who has decided to interpret ‘security’ in such a fashion.

I recall reading some tale a long time ago about the fate of one of the worst of the Barbary Coast crimps who in an unguarded moment foolishly let himself be lured aboard a ship in San Francisco, waking up to find himself at sea on an outbound Down Easter, bound for the Horn and beyond, where he would learn about sea life the hard way.

It is precisely the sort of learning experience some of these jobsworths should have inflicted on them, being forced to endure a long voyage with no shore leave at the end of it.

The welfare providers will learn from this research, I am sure, and will step up their ‘outreach’ from their port-based faciities to provide better for their lonely clientele. They are, as I suggest, already doing this.

But there are lessons for the wider shipping industry in this, along with links to some of the problems which it is experiencing, not least the present recruitment and retention problems.

It is common sense, surely. If you treat seafarers like criminals, potential terrorists really, remove their human rights and show them not the slightest respect, who on earth would want to be a seafarer?

People are doing all these things and more in their one-eyed fixation about security, or because they are petty-minded Napoleons in their own little empires, looking for any excuse to stop people going ashore, or prevent others from going aboard.

We would not dare to treat any other group like this. Imagine denying bus or train drivers their human rights, or even refusing aircrew entry to your country, forcing them to sleep on a bench in the departure lounge or doss down in their aircraft before flying it home.

For a start you would get the whole mighty weight of the Transport and General Workers Union or the Teamsters or the Amalgamated Union of Transport Functionaries bringing local transport to a complete standstill, keeping it so until government ministers had grovellingly admitted their mistake, resigned and heaped ashes on their respective miserable heads.

But seafarers seem out of this arc of social responsibility, and in their treatment anything goes. It is because they are dispersed in small numbers, because they are foreign, but mainly because every nasty little Hitler knows they can be kicked around with impunity and treated like dirt.

The isolation of the modern seafarer is another aspect which may be identified in this SIRC report. You may think that seafarers have always been isolated — consider the days before maritime radio — but what you need to remember is the ‘connectivity’ we all enjoy ashore today, something which has left the seafarer figuratively stranded.

A couple of months ago I was at the BIMCO general meeting in Hong Kong listening to a positively inspirational lecture from shipmanager Rajaish Bajpaee, in which he enumerated the downsides of modern seafaring. The Intermanager chairman did not stop there, but listed what the shipping industry could do to make a sea career more congenial.

Of course he focused on the bloody-minded beastliness which denies seafarers respect, shore leave and human rights, but he also rather homed in on this matter of communications, and the paucity of such available to seafarers to remain in touch with their homes and families.

He pointed out the ridiculous situation of a ship rigged up with powerful communications to enable the head office to harass the master at any time no matter where on earth the ship might be and, in contrast, the crew having to queue up in some dockside phone box — if the security lets them ashore — to talk to their loved ones when the ship reaches port.

Above all, he emphasised the opportunities modern communications provide, not merely to stay in touch but to stay connected to mainstream life, in short to remain part of the human race rather than be exiled to its margins.

Mr Bajpaee, because he was once a seafarer, recognises the realities of this isolation and moreover he understands its consequences in that young people today are just not prepared to tolerate the conditions their predecessors endured with equanimity. It is why they will not join, and why they will not stay. It is at the root of the manning crisis that everyone is beefing about.

Of course there is much more that could be done to make sea life a lot more tolerable. The length of tours are, for many people, too long. People who have been around and afloat for some years comment on the way that the standard of accommodation aboard modern built tonnage is a good deal worse than that provided in ships built in the 1980s, even the 1990s.

There is a visceral meanness abroad which will go to endless lengths to keep a ship cheap and nasty when in an earlier age there was more generosity.

The design of modern ships treats the seafarers who will man them as a sort of afterthought, packing them into a towerblock abaft the sternpost or making sure the overall length of the accommodation is no more than that occupied by a 40 ft container. Just a week or so ago in this newspaper there was a computer-generated picture of a feeder containership with the bridge and accommodation so far forward it was actually above and below the windlass.

I am sometimes embarrassed to reveal my age, but I sailed in some ships built in the 1920s and early 1930s, with forecastle accommodation where the lack of comfort, violent accelerations in a seaway and row when we dropped the anchor made it impossible to recruit respectable seamen, who knew there were better ships on offer by the 1950s and 1960s when these old dears were reaching the end of their lives.

What does a barmy naval architect, who is looking for some shelter from the sea for the forward boxes, think it would be like to live in his modern triumph of maritime design? Is this design doing something positive or negative to address the manning crisis? Answers on a postcard...

I did not mean to be quite so angry on this pleasant summer day. But as a complete contrast, following the article in The Sea which informed this rant, I read Patrick Forbes’ Focus on Faith column. Patrick, who spent years afloat as a radio officer before a second career in the church, writes in this issue about why seafarers are special and, although it may not feel like it at the time, have advantages over landsmen.

“We see,” he writes, “at embarrassingly close hand the wonders of the deep, the forces of nature, the wealth of the seas and the mess that those ashore make of life, the universe and almost everything”.

In what he describes as “the awesome beauty of creation” he points out that life at sea is boiled down to its essentials. “Go well,” he concludes, ”for you are richly blessed”. I

It is a good and positive note on which to end, and some compensation for what has gone before.

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Experience counts

Postby The Dieselduck » Fri Sep 14, 2007 9:40 pm

Experience counts
31 August 2007 Lloyds List

IT IS, perhaps, the opposite of the virtuous circle — a case of a poor harvest inevitably following inadequate planting and the consequences of an industry resolutely refusing to heed the many warnings it has received over the years.

It is a bit late to complain about the erosion of crew competence when it has already taken place, or worry about the lack of experience of ship’s officers accelerating through the ranks to replace their very experienced seniors.

The demographic imbalances caused by a failure to recruit 15-20 years ago, when exactly today’s situation was being forecast, might be regretted but the scope for improvement is somewhat limited, especially when the world fleet is increasing and the available talent is being spread ever more thinly.

The consequences of steeply increasing serious casualties and soaring claims has been commented on at length by a number of P&I club personalities. The latest this week is the Swedish Club, which has completed a review of two years of serious accidents and their causes and is markedly depressed by what it has found.

The issue of crew experience has taken a long time to surface. The UK Club’s Karl Lumbers has studied it at some length and made the links between claims and the experience of people in the ranks in which they are sailing. The North of England chairman Bill Thomson took the industry to task for overlooking the need for practical experience and its preferences for staff kept off the payroll.

Now Frans Malmros brings us “unpalatable truths” revealed by his review which clearly shows a correlation between the serious accident rate and a fall in crew experience and competence, which he suggests is made worse by stress and fatigue in ships manned less generously than they should be.

There is a dichotomy of opinion about whether fast promotion is desirable or something that should be viewed with suspicion. In some roles the quick promotion of energetic potential high flyers is to be applauded. But there are attendant risks, notably involving critical shipboard operations, where experience really can count, and may not be easily substituted.

There is no getting away from the fact that there are few satisfactory alternatives to shipboard experience and that, while simulators might offer excellent practice and college time good for teaching theory, sea time matters, just as it always has done.

There are good things happening. A number of companies have returned to using training ships, with specialist officers to give cadets the best possible grounding. Efforts are being made to improve the quality of training in crew supplying countries. But none of these initiatives provides a quick dividend and, as always, the poachers who do not bother to train lurk around these pools of talent.

The Swedish Club offers a list of recommendations, all of which are eminently sensible. But you can only lead a horse to water — it is up to the shipping companies to react. It is the shipowners and only they that have the ultimate responsibility to reverse direction of the claims curve the Swedish Club finds so alarming.

Do they care? Many companies have upgraded their training programmes, many have looked at the issues of safety and are tackling them energetically. But many, while expressing concern at the shortage of experienced officers, merely step up their poaching and remain focused on obtaining the cheapest possible crews, even though the industry is experiencing extraordinary prosperity.

Just this week we hear of a company making redundant an officer with 35 years’ experience, his command given to an officer with a fraction of his time in command. He was a whole lot cheaper.

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Swedish Club study links crew skills level and collisions

Postby The Dieselduck » Fri Sep 14, 2007 9:41 pm

Swedish Club study links crew skills level and collisions
Michael Grey, 31 August 2007 Lloyds List



A FALL in crew experience and competence levels has coincided with an upsurge in serious collision and contact cases, a Swedish Club study into claims has concluded.

The review of claims dealt with by the P&I club over a two-year period to the end of 2006 was precipitated by a reversal of trends noted during the 1990s, which saw the number of major accidents reduced.

This is, says Swedish Club managing director Frans Malmros, “a disturbing reversal of that positive trend”.

Mr Malmros suggests that although the truth may be unpalatable, the rise in accidents can be directly linked to issues of crew experience and competence, exacerbated by stress and fatigue.

The accidents reviewed by the club included collision and contact damages in port approaches, coastal waters and the Exclusive Economic Zone, focusing on causal factors.

These included failures to follow standard operating procedures and instructions for critical shipboard operations and emergency response actions.

Mr Malmros pointed to the increase in the number of new recruits into the industry since 2000, which he noted was coupled with lower retention and more rapid promotion, implying a lack of experience with less time to get to know a ship. Average crew sizes remain static, while “the paperwork and inspection-related workload continues to mushroom”.

Suggesting that around half of all accidents at sea can be traced back to fundamental navigation bridge system failures, Mr Malmros said that this was closely linked to “a generic loss of experience”.

There were also difficulties faced by experienced seafarers who found themselves having to train the inexperienced. The club suggested that these findings should help to provoke a new joint industry initiative, perhaps with the tanker and cruise sectors acting as standard bearers.

Ten recommendations for positive change were produced by the club in its review, ranging from longer induction periods to the ‘co-pilot’ principle, in which a second officer closely monitors the officer conning the ship during critical manoeuvres, intervening should this be necessary.



Ten recommendations



31 August 2007 Lloyds List



• Longer introduction for new recruits

• More effective time management with flexibility to defer non-essential administrative tasks

• Sufficient time for training duties

• Close monitoring of competence

• More emphasis on pre-planning, manning up, where necessary

• Steps to eliminate single operator errors

• Encourage use of several means of position finding

• Use passage planning and continuous monitoring

• Ensure juniors never hesitate to question a decision of a senior officer if doubt arises.

• Adopt the “co-pilot principle” with a free flow of information with positive reporting.

• Longer periods of introduction for new recruits• More effective time management with flexibility to defer non-essential administrative tasks• Sufficient time for training duties• Close monitoring of competence levels• More emphasis on pre-planning, manning up, where necessary• Steps to eliminate single operator errors• Encourage use of several means of position finding• Use passage planning and continuous monitoring• Ensure juniors never hesitate to question a decision of a senior officer, if doubt arises.• Adopt the ‘co-pilot principle’, with a free flow of information and positive reporting.

• Longer periods of introduction for new recruits• More effective time management with flexibility to defer non-essential administrative tasks• Sufficient time for training duties• Close monitoring of competence levels• More emphasis on pre-planning, manning up, where necessary• Steps to eliminate single operator errors• Encourage use of several means of position finding• Use passage planning and continuous monitoring• Ensure juniors never hesitate to question a decision of a senior officer, if doubt arises.• Adopt the ‘co-pilot principle’, with a free flow of information and positive reporting.

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Shipping is getting a raw deal

Postby The Dieselduck » Fri Sep 14, 2007 9:43 pm

Shipping is getting a raw deal
Bill Gray, 29 August 2007 Lloyds List

RECENTLY this paper’s senior writer, Michael Grey, eloquently described that in the shipping industry, common sense is rapidly disappearing from the relationship between those being regulated and those doing the regulating. He reported that seafarers, especially senior officers, are being harassed by port state controllers who too often are young, aggressive and inexperienced individuals seemingly intent only upon taking the next scalp.

Grey also reported that increasing numbers of masters are seeking to avoid calling at many European ports for fear of being the next one behind bars, and not for a pint.

Another piece, headlined “US Coast Guard in the dock”, described a US Congressional hearing at which former USCG Administrative Law Judge Jeffie J. Massey testified: “I found the attitude of the USCG was one of we are here, we are going to present some evidence, and we expect you to do the rest for us.”

Her colleague, AL Judge Rosemary Denson, testified that she “believed that vindictive actions were taken against her…because she did not rule in favour of Coast Guard”.

Meanwhile, at another Congressional hearing into the status of the USCG marine safety programme, a preponderance of testimony by industry veterans seemed to agree that the Coast Guard is now “far more concerned with security than marine safety”.

Tom Allegretti of AWO said: “Marine safety must be a clear priority, but does not appear to be with the Coast Guard.”

William Doyle of MEBA said: “Many Coast Guard personnel are inexperienced in marine safety and are more focused on maritime security and law enforcement.”

Clearly, it seems to me that the US Coast Guard, since being moved into the Department of Homeland Security after the 9/11 terrorist attack on New York, has become an organisation more devoted to catching terrorists than to doing its traditional maritime safety job; a role for which they had become world famous years before, but whose image is now slipping in the eyes of many in the industry.

After seeing Grey’s piece, a few top level former ‘blue suiters’ I know disagreed, but most privately conceded that he had it right. And one current flag officer told me that since 9/11 many (maybe most) USCG boarding personnel are now being trained by the FBI to catch terrorists rather than concentrating on maritime safety.

Another piece in Lloyd’s List, on August 9, about BP’s attempt to gain approval for an LNG facility in Delaware River, described “a nascent US Coast Guard intention to board and inspect high interest ships — which presumably includes LNG carriers — only during daylight and calm weather”.

This article also mentioned that the industry personnel concerned had approached Congressional leaders in the hope of getting emergency funding so that the Coast Guard could get enough additional people to inspect ships 24/7, as they have always done in the past.

Stepping back from Coast Guard issues for a moment, the Journal of Commerce recently published “Miscarriage of Justice”, written by Warren Leback, a highly respected ship master, then operator of Sealand and El Paso ships, and finally head of the US Maritime Administration. His paper contends that there is a disturbing trend within the American judicial system to criminalise the shipmaster or chief engineer, and that the trial of the master by press release in advance of hearing, arbitration or trial implies he is guilty until proven innocent.

Capt Leback correctly cites the sad case in Alabama last year of Wolfgang Schroeder being jailed and found guilty of manslaughter for an accident in which he was the victim of accidental circumstances beyond his control.

Capt Leback concludes: “The Justice Department needs to issue hard guidelines to federal and state prosecutors reminding them that their role is one of fair and unbiased presentation of facts.

“We have relegated experience to the closet in favour of the bright, young and aggressive prosecutors — at the expense of the ships’ masters.”

I would add that we have relegated common sense, as Grey put it, to the scrap heap in favour of more arrests and convictions to show our diligence to secure US waters.

Other evidence of a total lack of common sense about shipping in the US includes the Dubai ports fiasco last year, which prevented a very experienced, but foreign, commercial port operator from taking over some major port operations here; and then in recent weeks the US Congress sent legislation to the President that would require 100% security scanning of containers loaded anywhere in the world if bound for the US.

The fact that this mandate, if enacted, would infringe on the sovereign rights of any nation sending cargo here, and that reliable scanning technology doesn’t yet exist, didn’t prevent our 535 elected security experts from acting.

So what can our industry do to bring common sense back to regulation and enforcement of shipping here in America or in Europe where the most egregious mistakes are being made in the treatment of shipping and seafarer?

First, taking a cue from US Congress’ filibuster, why not have a worldwide go-slow by all merchant ships? Or simply have them heave to for a couple of weeks? Illegal, no doubt, but certainly effective.

As IMO secretary general Thimio Mitropolous has often said, “if all the ships stopped for a while, half the people in the world would starve and the other half would freeze”.

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Maritime Industry examines labour needs

Postby The Dieselduck » Sat Sep 15, 2007 8:46 am

Maritime Industry examines labour needs

Lack of qualified marine personnel a major issue but longshore recruitment remains strong

By MARK WILSON, Sailings Aug 20, 2007

The marine industry should forget about recruiting foreign employees while thousands of qualified Canadian marine workers are unemployed, according to Michel Desjardins, vicepresident of the Seafarers International Union (SIU) of Canada.

Yet others within the marine industry say they are beginning to struggle with a personnel shortage and would like to be able to tap a reserve pool of marine labour, if one existed.

Mr. Desjardins made his assertion as part of the union's objections to a waiver that would have allowed foreign flagged ships, crewed by foreign workers, to engage in Canadian home trades. The waiver request was denied.

It had been sought to deal with what some vessel owners and operators claim is a troubling shortage of marine personnel, especially certified deck officers and engineers.

"We have no knowledge of an overabundance of deck officers and engineers, and there is concern over the unwillingness of young people to enter the industry," said Ivan Lantz, director of marine operations at the Shipping Federation of Canada. "They don't want to go to sea."

Pilots, marine surveyors and naval architects are among the other professionals in short supply, Capt. Lantz added. He noted that the federal government has been striving to train the personnel it requires on its own after failing to enlist mariners from the commercial sector to fill regulatory jobs and Canadian Coast Guard positions.

Claude Mailloux is executive director of the Comite sectoriel de main-d'oeuvre de l'industrie maritime (CSMOIM), which is a maritime industry human resources sectorial committee in Quebec. He warned that the recruitment situation in that province is bad and expected to become worse over the next few years.

"We are doing a study that will be finished in the fall to give us a clearer picture of the need for navigators and engineers, and estimates over the next three to five years:' he said. "It will tell us what we should do to mitigate the problem ." "

A workforce survey conducted in 2002 indicated that half ofthe province's marine navigators were 50 years or older. Attrition, recruitment and other factors could result in a new age mix five years later, which is why the new survey is needed.

Demand for licensed officers is being influenced by clearly defined crewing regulations under the Canada Shipping Act that came into force July 1.

Mr. Mailloux suggested the industry might gain some relief on crewing requirements by applying for exemptions that allow junior licensed personnel to serve in higher categories. An example would be a third class engineer filling in for a secondclass engineer. Yet he acknowledged this would only serve as a stopgap.

Arnold Vingsnes, secretary treasurer of the Canadian Merchant Service Guild's western branch, noted some West Coast tugs have been delayed in sailing by two or three days because of a lack of crew. "First officers have not been available said.

Capt. Vingsnes attributed the shortage of skippers to past competitive pressures that companies addressed in part by opting for minimal crewing levels. This starved the succession process. The absence of new blood has resulted in too many officers closing in on retirement at the same time.

"Fierce competition caused companies to put the bottom line before everything:' he said, noting the move in the late 1980s to remove engineers from tugs with 750 kilowatts (about 1,000 horsepower) or less power. Day boats operating in prescribed geographical confines had long operated without engineers, but many were surprised when this practice spread to the coast.

General-service tugs with greater horsepower eliminated second engineers under the Coast Guard's bare-bone required crewing levels. Capt. Vingsnes said the longerterm consequences of crew-reduction policies are now being felt by the industry.

One major towboat company, whose licensed personnel average 58 years in age, is considering whether to bump up its mandatory retirement age of 64. The problem is the company has affiliates that would like to do the same thing and their overall personnel require negotiations with several unions.

A lack of effort to promote the marine sector as a career choice on the West Coast hasn't helped matters.

Mr. Mailloux praised the efforts of the Institut maritime du Quebec (IMQ) in training deck officers, engineers, logisticians, naval architects and divers, but suggested that supplementary streams of industry recruitment might have to be developed. One possibility is to widen the net to other provinces, and even other countries.

Within Quebec, he said there is a need to encourage young people to consider pursuing a career in the marine industry and to address their reluctance about working aboard vessels.

The CSMOIM is closely involved with the training programs offered at IMQ's Rimouski campus. The organization is responsible for disbursing tuition grants provided by Quebec's Ministry of Transport. "Over the past three years, this has helped 160 students meet half their tuition costs:' Mr. Mailloux said. "Employers have also made contributions."

Capt. Vingsnes said the guild could not endorse Mr. Mailloux's suggestion that foreign recruitment of licensed personnel be pursued, at least not on the West Coast. He said a ragged and long coastline, narrow channels, precarious weather and complex tidal conditions require years of experience before someone can be given command of a coastal vessel.

Even without offshore recruitment, Capt. Vingsnes is concerned that a reduction in the amount of sea time required of first mates advancing to captain might have adverse consequences. "if (deck officer) shortages become critical, we may find individuals getting commands when they don't have a vast knowledge base because they lack years of coastal experience."

He said another worry is the increasing amount of coastal business going to non-union operators. He estimated their present market share at 40 per cent.

"They may pay their captains the equivalent of union rates, but they escape the costs of health and welfare benefits and pension plans:' he said. "Deckhands may be getting only $12 or $13 an hour. They have a cost advantage and they exploit it.

"Most of what they do is outside Vancouver and may escape the watchful eye of the regulatory people he added. "I have heard stories, but perhaps I shouldn't get into that."

Joy Thomson, a business agent with the Canadian Merchant Service Guild, said the minimal supply of licensed personnel is leading to employee poaching. "We don't have a lot of information, but we know it is going on:' she said. "Signing bonuses appear to be the means of enticement!

Employers are now looking hard at training cadets, she said, and named Seaspan International Ltd. and Northern Transportation Co. Ltd. as two companies working with the Council of Marine Carriers, an industry umbrella group, to explore possibilities.

Longshore recruitment

While an aging workforce is causing alarm in some sectors of the maritime industry, it has yet to have an impact on longshore recruitment.

In Montreal, Jean Bedard, a vicepresident with the Maritime Employers Association, said there was no shortage of applicants "when we completed a big increase in our manpower and training last spring. So we are pretty much up to date on numbers, even though we had to find replacements for 200 retirees and to take on extra people."

The increase in the size of the workforce and the resulting need for expanded training has caused the MEA to open a second site to allow recruits to practise on mobile equipment. This measure is seen as temporary.

Most training remains concentrate in or next to a building housing the association's workplace simulator, which has recently undergone a $250,000 structural refit. Mr. Bedard said the simulator's software and hardware is the equivalent of simulation capabilities in top Asian ports. Currently, about a dozen employees are undergoing training at any one time. The average age of all employees is 47 and the average age of workers in the reserve pool is 35.

Mr. Bedard said the overall average age is trending down, so the port employers' association is not worried that it might be faced with a mass exodus of longshore workers heading into retirement.

In Halifax, Richard Moore, president and CEO of the Halifax Employers' Association, believes that ambitious plans by the Halifax Port Authority to almost double existing under-utilized container handling capacity will not, if realized, strain the available labour supply.

Currently, the port receives about 500,000 TEUs (containers of 20 feet or the equivalent) a year and has the ability to move more than twice this number. The talk of raising the capacity limit to 2 million TEUs is predicated on increased traffic from Asia, including the Indian sub-continent, being routed via the Suez Canal rather than crossing the Pacific to congested West Coast ports.

Mr. Moore said that he is aware of the port authority's hopes for a surge in business but is awaiting concrete developments. "I know they are going after new business, but for now I don't see any signs of it," he said. "if it does come, we will have to go into the hiring mode and look for more people. I believe we could ramp up numbers very quickly, if we had to. Our last posting was in 2004 when we had 750 apply for 65 openings.

"The average age of employees is 45, but if there are willing young people out there, that is not a concern."

He said that Halifax, along with other East Coast ports, is keeping a watchful eye on the drift of workers from the Maritimes to Alberta, drawn west by that province's high wages. But so far, the migration has not depleted the waterfront workforce.

Mr. Moore said the one benefit of increased container activity in Halifax is justification for the HEA investing in training simulation and lessening the time needed to take front-line equipment out of service for training sessions.

One possibility, he suggested, is that the port could partner with community colleges on acquiring a simulator.

He said an earlier approach to the Port of Saint John about sharing a simulator went nowhere, as even the combined strength of both ports (Halifax has 580 members of the International Longshoremen's Associations) didn't justify the outlay.

On the West Coast, Tom Dufresne, Canadian area president with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, believes that job vacancies in British Columbia ports will be filled despite an onrush of retirements and the need to enlarge the workforce to cope with an anticipated increase in container traffic from Asia.

"The average age of longshore workers in the province is 48 and we are faced with 900 retirements over the next five years, but I am confident we will get the needed replacements," he said.

Mr. Dufresne noted that 10,000 applicants answered a 2006 call for 1,500 recruits. However, rigorous selection resulted in a high failure rate and only 500 were accepted. To make good the shortfall, a further call was issued this year, closing in March. Again, the invitation was oversubscribed.

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Lack of qualified marine personnel a major issue

Postby The Dieselduck » Sat Sep 15, 2007 8:47 am

Lack of qualified marine personnel a major issue but longshore recruitment remains strong

By MARK WILSON

The marine industry should forget about recruiting foreign employees while thousands of qualified Canadian marine workers are unemployed, according to Michel Desjardins, vicepresident of the Seafarers International Union (SIU) of Canada.

Yet others within the marine industry say they are beginning to struggle with a personnel shortage and would like to be able to tap a reserve pool of marine labour, if one existed.

Mr. Desjardins made his assertion as part of the union's objections to a waiver that would have allowed foreign flagged ships, crewed by foreign workers, to engage in Canadian home trades. The waiver request was denied.

It had been sought to deal with what some vessel owners and operators claim is a troubling shortage of marine personnel, especially certified deck officers and engineers.

"We have no knowledge of an overabundance of deck officers and engineers, and there is concern over the unwillingness of young people to enter the industry," said Ivan Lantz, director of marine operations at the Shipping Federation of Canada. "They don't want to go to sea."

Pilots, marine surveyors and naval

architects are among the other professionals in short supply, Capt. Lantz added. He noted that the federal government has been striving to train the personnel it requires on its own after failing to enlist mariners from the commercial sector to fill regulatory jobs and Canadian Coast Guard positions.

Claude Mailloux is executive director of the Comit6 sectoriel de main-d'oeuvre de l'industrie maritime (CSMOIM), which is a maritime industry human resources

sectorial committee in Quebec. He warned that the recruitment situation in that province is bad and expected to become worse over the next few years.

"We are doing a study that will be finished in the fall to give us a clearer picture of the need for navigators and engineers, and estimates over the next three to five years:' he said. "It will tell us what we should do to mitigate the problem ." "

A workforce survey conducted in 2002 indicated that half of
who were selected to join the casual board in 2006 was high. "We are in competition with other industries, but people recognize that good jobs, with rates of pay that allow people to raise a family and buy a home, are available."

He said that a federal-provincial initiative to increase the capacity of West Coast ports and to improve onshore transportation links has raised general awareness that longshoring is part of a growth industry. "The home that an industry entrant can afford may be in the suburbs and not Vancouver, but they will be in an industry that will sustain them and their families for the long-term;' he said.

Vancouver consultant Ros Kunin, who owns the franchise on informed comment about the adequacy or otherwise of recruitment in the marine sector, is pessimistic.

While West Coast terminal operators may be able to attract and train sufficient numbers of longshore workers, companies may struggle to fill junior management slots, on up. And then there are positions in shipbuilding, insurance, surveying, pilotage, port operations and so on that may go begging.

Early last year, Dr. Kunin presented an industry manpower survey. It warned that even the most favourably placed sectors were experiencing mild problems with recruitment and that these will become serious within 10 to 15 years. Other sectors will encounter severe problems within three to five years, she predicted.

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Ontario marine industry receives funding support for trainin

Postby The Dieselduck » Sat Sep 15, 2007 8:48 am

May 14th Canadian Sailings

Ontario marine industry receives funding support for training

The Ontario government has announced a $3 rmillion investment in Georgian College's marine training programs. Transport Minister Donna Cansfield and Training, Colleges and Universities Minister Chris Bentley outlined their support for the capital equipment upgrades for the programs aboard the. MN
Stephen B. Roman in Toronto harbour on April 26.

"Ontario and Canada need well-trained graduates to navigate and operate our ships," Mr. Bentley said. "Today's investment creates opportunities for students interested in marine careers while securing the future viability of Ontario's marine industry."

In addition to the $3 million from Ontario, further funding is to be confirmed from Transport Canada and from stakeholders in Ontario's marine industry, including shipping companies, labour organizations, marine professional associations, Georgian College and the City of Owen Sound.

Georgian College's Owen Sound campus, which specializes in marine training, has had a post-secondary navigation and engineering cadet program for nearly 40 years, and Owen Sound's marine school has existed for nearly a century. It is one of four schools across Canada with the postsecondary programs and the only Transport Canada-approved school in Ontario.

The project will entail 18 months of planning and building construction, quotations and selection of proper equipment, and installation and development of improved training programs to meet the needs of the Great Lakes and international marine industry. New training technologies for bridge simulators, electronic chart and satellite communication training labs, an upgraded engine room simulator and many other improvements are part of an overall $7 million to $8 million plus initiative.

A modern interactive database of the Great Lakes and connecting waterways, ports, rivers and canals will provide state of the art training capabilities for ship handling, pilotage and bridge team skills train
training. Other benefits include research and development capabilities and the ability to attract outside corporate and foreign training thanks to the equipment upgrades that will put Ontario on the world map for competitive marine training.

Future initiatives will explore capabilities in distance learning to allow mariners to train at home or at remote locations and still receive modern and available education opportunities for career advancement and skills upgrades.

Ms. Cansfield reinforced the government's support for sustainable transportation for Ontario, which includes all modes of transportation. "The government is providing funding to help make Georgian College's Owen Sound campus one of the best-equipped marine training facilities in Canada," she said.

The Georgian College Marine Advisory Committee , a group of industry, labour and association representatives that advises Georgian College on its marine training and programs, initiated the upgrade request to meet training needs for Great Lakes operators and Ontario-based companies and employees, with capabilities to also train foreign seafarers.

"it has been a long voyage, and rather sad that Ontario's only approved marine training facility was not capable of meeting our training needs, which resulted in training having to be done out of province and out of country," said Capt. John Greenway, chair of the advisory committee.

"The Ontario government's recognition of the importance of the marine industry in meeting transportation needs, in providing environmental benefits for the movement of goods and people, and contributions to the economy of Canada and the province is appreciated, and Ontario was the final partner needed to make this all come together."

Georgian College's post-secondary marine programs have nearly 120 full-time students in their navigation and engineering courses, and they also train over 1,000 seafarers annually in various skills training in certification, upgrading and specialized marine courses throughout Ontario and Central Canada.

"These necessary upgrades allow the college and the
marine industry at large to keep up with the demand for
skilled marine professionals:' said Brian Tamblyn, presi
dent and CEO of Georgian College. "With this funding, we
can better address the educational needs of an industry
that contributes greatly to our economy and quality of life' ."

The upgrade was critical to meet future Transport Canada training criteria and the needs of the marine industry.

The announcement was made at the Essroc Terminal in the Port of Toronto. Essroc, a major player in the cement industry in Canada and North America, relies on marine transportation and a skilled and well-trained marine labour force. The marine mode moves more than 1.5 million tonnes of cement and other related products annually on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence for Essroc.

The Essroc location was fitting as it emphasized the importance of the marine industry to Ontario and the need for the province to have a modern marine training centre for the Great Lakes industry.

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Looming worker shortage spells opportunity

Postby The Dieselduck » Sat Sep 15, 2007 8:49 am

Driven to succeed: Looming worker shortage spells opportunity
Wendy McLellan, The Province, Sunday, June 24, 2007

The numbers are so daunting, it's hard to imagine how Canada's vast transportation industry will find enough workers to fill the jobs.

The trucking sector estimates it needs 37,000 new drivers a year. In the next five years, 50 per cent of the country's railway workers are eligible for retirement. The average age of marine officers on the West Coast is 54 -- and it takes at least a decade to acquire full training to go to sea.

"In the next 10 years, we need to recruit and train tens of thousands of new workers," said Ruth Sol, president of the Western Transportation Advisory Council. "There is going to be an extreme shortage of workers, and it's already happening in certain areas."

The council, which represents major transportation organizations in western Canada, has recently launched an online job board to centralize job postings for the industry's trucking, rail, marine and air sectors and hopefully draw more people to careers in transportation.

The website, www.transportationcareers.ca, lists a wide range of jobs from delivery truck driver to aircraft luggage handler to logistics experts who co-ordinate the moving of products and passengers around the country.

"A lot of jobs in transportation offer a lifetime career," Sol said. "This is a growing, dynamic industry and there's a tremendous range of opportunities."

The industry organization has also created a second website, www.transpocity.ca, to introduce high-school students to careers in transportation.

"The Asia Pacific gateway is going to increase opportunities even further, but it's coming at a time when there are dwindling numbers of people entering the workplace," she said.

"Globalization has been enabled by transportation, and if you want to be in an industry that is roaring along and is not going to crash, this is where it's at."

Jim Mickey, president of Cloverdale trucking company Coastal Pacific Xpress, said drivers are in such short supply companies have had to reduce their expectations when hiring new workers.

"If we had kept on demanding the same standards for the last 20 years, the economy would have come to a halt," Mickey said. "The crisis is coming, no question. The average age of truck drivers is alarming."

Brian Siemens, assistant manager of marine personnel for Seaspan International Ltd., said the tow company is losing an average of 10 deck officers a year to retirement -- and in 10 years will have to replace 60 of its 200 officers.

"It's not like it's a four-year apprenticeship and you've got your ticket. This takes years," Siemens said. "Where are we going to pull these people from? We put an ad in the paper looking for experienced officers, and nobody applied."

Randy Johnstone, a port captain for North Vancouver-based Seaspan, started working on tugboats 30 years ago.

"It's a great life," said Johnstone, who also works as a private pilot on the big yachts that cruise to Vancouver. "You're out on the water, you see dolphins and whales and wake up to the smell of the sea. It can be difficult on the family because you work two weeks on, two weeks off. But you're also only working 150 days a year -- and that leaves 215 days to do other things."

Joy Thomson, business agent for the Canadian Merchant Service Guild which represents marine officers, said the union is struggling to find trained officers.

"We're definitely feeling the shortage now," she said. "Everyone is already employed."

The marine sector offers workers good-paying jobs, sea travel and lots of time off, she said. Entry-level deckhands earn about $65,000 a year and work about five months a year.

"It's an interesting job. You go to places that are only accessible by boat, up and down the coast -- and it's hands-on work. This is not a desk job."

wmclellan@png.canwest.com

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Transportation: A growing industry with plenty of opportunit

Postby The Dieselduck » Sat Sep 15, 2007 8:50 am

Transportation: A growing industry with plenty of opportunities
Working.com

How would you like a job that offers great pay, plenty of time off, and the ability to travel the world without every having to use a travel agent?

If that sounds about right why not check out a career in the marine industry?

The Canadian marine industry contributes over $9 billion to our economy and employs more than 16,000 British Columbians. From ships, to the ports, to the terminals, the marine industry offers a variety of exciting and high paying jobs.

It takes many people doing many things to operate a ship. Each person starts at the bottom and works his or her way up - the Captain typically started as a Deck Hand.

Not everyone working in the marine industry will go to sea. There are jobs using high tech equipment to load and unload ships, jobs that match cargo with ships, and jobs that work in customer service. So whether you are the adventurous type or the stay-at-home type, the marine industry has a job for you.

BCIT student and Deck Officer Martin McConnell is one example of the route a marine industry career might take.

Martin was recently on a cooperative education work term aboard Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas, the world's largest cruise ship.

In his last year of BCIT's 4-year Nautical Sciences Diploma program, Martin served as a Deck Officer aboard ship. Part of his daily routine included being solely responsible for the safe navigation and control of this 3,600-passenger ship.

"I enjoy that every day when I wake up, I am somewhere new," says Martin about his experience. "Also, of course, driving the largest cruise ship in the world is quite an honour!"

At the BCIT Marine Campus in North Vancouver, Martin has developed skills in ship navigation, seamanship, naval architecture, shipboard firefighting, and sea survival, to be able to obtain his Transport Canada watchkeeping certificate, allowing him to work globally as a Deck Officer.

The Nanaimo native credits BCIT's relationships with the marine industry for exceptional work term opportunities and already has a job lined up with Royal Caribbean after his graduation from the Nautical Sciences program.

In choosing a career at sea, Martin is entering a field - transportation - that is expected to see plenty of work in the future. Due to the increased amount of cargo expected to flow through our waters thanks to growth in Asia-Pacific trade, this is an industry with lots of opportunity.

"Transportation is a dynamic exciting industry. It's a huge economic generator," says Ruth Sol, President, Western Transportation Advisory Council (WESTAC).

"The Federal Government's Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative is increasing the need for workers in transportation and logistics," Sol says. "With investment in transportation infrastructure comes the need for more workers to fill new jobs."

Many of today's transport jobs are highly technical, specialized, and use the latest technology. They often require trades and technical training. Welders, shipfitters, mechanics, engineers, and technicians are in demand.

To find out more about the types of careers available in transportation visit www.TranspoCity.ca. To find out more about courses leading to a career in the marine industry at BCIT visit www.bcit.ca/transportation/marine.

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JK
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Postby JK » Sat Sep 15, 2007 10:02 am

There was a Shipbuilding Industry Meeting in Halifax in 2006 that coincided with Martech.
Dave Faulkener, Director General of CG Integrated Technical Services was present along with PWGSC members.
Dave made the comment there that Transport Canada, Coast Guard, and Public Works were literally stealing engineers from one another. It is very difficult to get a 1st Class ticket and 20 + years experience to move ashore and take a minimum 20% pay cut.

There is going to be a huge certificated personal crunch in CG in the next 5 years.

In 2006 I posted about Incat hiring woman to offset their manning issues:
http://dieselduck.blogspot.com/2006/06/incat-puts-out-call-for-woman.html


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