Given the number of newbuildings still to be delivered, in spite of delays or cancellations, the seafarer shortage is likely to become ever more acute. Some estimates put the number of new seafarers needed to cope with the current orderbook at 100,000 to 130,000.
Spinnaker is participating in work by BIMCO and the International Shipping Federation to assess exactly how critical the situation is. The results of the 2010 Manpower Study Committee's research are set to be published later in the year. The study collects data from national administrations as well as companies and key industry figures. If your company has not yet completed a company survey PLEASE get involved (and of course check that your head of manning hasn't already done so).
As an industry we've been talking about the impact of the shortage in seafarer numbers for many years. Some say that the issue has been exaggerated and point to the fact that we've not seen vessels stranded in port without crew as evidence. Others say that we've got away with it so far and point to the rise in crew and technical shore staff wages as evidence of the effect of the supply-demand imbalance as it currently stands.
Is the situation getting worse or better? Watch this space for news from the 2010 Manpower Study Report.