FILIPINOS are recognized as among the best seafarers in the world because they are better trained, among other reasons, but they need to continuously upgrade their skills and training to remain highly qualified amid an increasing demand, including specialized officers in the global market for the next 10 years, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said.
Citing the Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO) and the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) Manpower Report 2015, the labor department stated that the global demand for seafarers, including officers, is forecast to increase until 2025.
The report, which was released in May 2016 during the Maritime Safety Committee held in London, said that there is a current shortfall of about 16,500 officers and a need for an additional 147,500 officers by 2025 to service the world merchant fleet.
The DOLE pointed out that unless training levels are increased significantly, the growth in demand for seafarers could generate a serious shortage in the supply of officers.
It added that the global supply of seafarers in 2015 was estimated at 1,647,500 seafarers, of which, 774,000 were officers. The supply of officers is forecasted to increase steadily, but this is predicted to be outpaced by increasing demand.
Some officer categories are in especially short supply, including engineer officers at management level and officers needed for specialized ships such as chemical liquefied natural gas (LNG) and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) carriers.
To address this concern, the DOLE said that there is a need for maritime education and training institutions to promote careers at sea and enhance the maritime training of Filipino seafarers.
It called for a review of their curriculum and improve their training standards to meet the requirements for specialized ships, including LNG and LPG carriers, chemical tankers and cruise liners.
Before turning over the DOLE to new Secretary Silvestre Bello 3rd, former Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz pointed out the notable advantage to employers in the global maritime industry of Filipino seafarers because of their preference to stay in their profession longer than the average five to 10 years
According to the labor department, some 229,000 Filipino seamen are on board merchant shipping vessels around the world at any given time, making the country the world’s main supplier of seamen.
Figures also indicate that Filipino seamen comprised more than 25 percent of the 1.5 million mariners worldwide, the single biggest nationality bloc in the shipping industry
Published every five years, the BIMCO/ICS Manpower Report provides a comprehensive update on the global manpower situation in the shipping industry and contains detailed data analysis to show how the maritime workforce has evolved since 2010. It also suggests how supply and demand of seafarers may change using various scenarios.