- By Nithya Solomon June 14, 2020
According to the latest Manning Annual Review and Forecast report published by global shipping consultancy Drewry, the low availability of Officers to crew merchant ships is due to the increased man-berth ratio leading ton rising costs of manning and the growing unattractiveness of a career at the sea. The report also estimated that the shortage in supply is about 2% of the total demand which is shadowed by the idling of vessels since April 2020.
“Seafaring is no longer the attractive occupation it once was as competition from shore-based roles intensifies and the lifestyle with its associated mental health challenges becomes less appealing,” said Drewry’s senior manning analyst Rhett Harris. “The Covid-19 outbreak has dealt a further blow to the occupation’s reputation with high profile news stories of stranded crews and enforced longer tours of duty.”
In future, the demand and supply of Officers is expected to work in opposite directions wherein the demand for officers will increase at a higher rate with respect to moderate growth in fleet operation due to additions in the employment practices including extension of leave and reduced tours of duty. Whereas, the supply of officers has been decreasing in the past few years which might not keep up with the growing demand.
This low supply is expected to raise the remuneration offered to the officers leading to an upward pressure in the manning prices. This rise in pay is expected to accelerate when vessel owners will be forced to reduce the pay. The manning cost is now flatlined in 2020 and expected to accelerate in the coming years.
“Further wage pressure will arise to maintain competiveness with shore-based work, particularly following the coronavirus outbreak which highlighted the health and lifestyle risks of a career at sea. Including wage rates, the overall work life balance dictated by tour lengths and leave rations are expected to become key considerations for employees and employers,” added Harris.