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maritime hr success

Maritime HR success in London

The great and good of the maritime HR world came together this May to discuss timely issues in the shipping industry; both shore-based and sea-going.

The Maritime HR Association’s annual conference is always a well-attended affair, but this year seemed to surpass the rest. With delegates from 18 countries, sessions covered a wide range of subjects from motivation and reward to social media all the way through to a discussion on life at sea.

Over two days, Spinnaker’s HR Consulting team gathered their global delegates in the vibrant One America Square Conference Centre, just a stone’s throw from the Tower of London. To kick off, Steve Gordon of Clarkson’s gave a fascinating talk on maritime economics. “The market still remains challenging,” said Gordon, “but it’s not as bad as the 80s, and at the moment it’s very much an Asia growth story.” Gordon also went on to say that the oil price had been a “game changer” for shipping, and that one to watch is a spike in newbuildings in the cruise industry.

It’s true that HR staff are all about people, but it’s also important to have some context when it comes to changes within such a niche industry as shipping.

We heard from Oldendorff, UASC, Thome, MSC Shipmanagement, Maersk Tankers, Maersk Drilling, MMS Maritime, Cargill, Team Tankers (formerly Eitzen Chemical) and MHG Ocean Benefits too, showing how high-level the conference delegates and speakers are, giving a wide range of industry insight.

On the second day, we heard from Clyde & Co’s Heidi Watson on global covenants and social media and the law, which had our HR delegates furiously scribbling notes on this very new and important subject! Watson urged to HR departments “I cannot tell you enough the importance of having a social media policy,” which sparked much interest on Twitter, appropriately.

To round off the two days which also featured extensive networking for our global visitors, we had a lively panel debate on ship to shore transitions and career paths for seafarers featuring Master Mariner Jessica Tyson, Deck Officer Cadet Thomas Booth and Second Mate Gail MacGregor, chaired by InterManager’s Secretary General Kuba Szymanski. The debate was the perfect end to the two days, and for those HR staff who only deal with shore-based it showed that even if you have a sole focus on shore, seafarer issues still affect you. Szymanski put it succinctly as “there is no shore without sea, and no sea without shore.” We couldn’t have put it better than that.

To follow the live tweets from the conference, look up the hashtag #MaritimeHR – and photos from the event can be found at

A huge thank you to our HR Consulting team, our speakers and delegates and the lovely venue for making this such a successful event. Until next year!

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