One of the problems stopping former officers being redeployed ashore is that of visas. One Indian master mariner now working for a P&I Club told us recently that while he knew many master mariners based in India that were keen to take up jobs in Europe, their nationality was denying them the opportunity.
"It's not about race," says Spinnaker's Chairman Phil Parry. "It's not even so much about immigration rules where the job's based, but practicality – travel to visit vessels often happens at short notice. Some nationalities, particularly westerners, need fewer visas, some get them quickly – others don't."
This isn't a new issue, but as seafarer shortages continue to bite and the western demographic continues to lessen there must be a very real risk that shipping companies will be unable to get in-house technical expertise out to vessels in the event of an incident, as well as the re-emergence of salary discrimination along nationality lines.
Is anyone out there lobbying on the issue? Let us know.