The commercial shipping industry is rapidly approaching a major personnel challenge. According to Drewry Shipping Consultants, the maritime industry will require an additional 42,500 officers by 2019. On top of this will be the need to supply sufficient crew for existing and new ships. Connectivity is increasingly seen as a determining factor for maritime professionals.
Together, these factors raise serious concerns about the future recruiting challenges to fill these berths. It will no longer be enough to simply have a position to fill and expect that you’ll attract the best personnel. Seafarers of all stripes are increasingly taking into account working conditions, welfare issues, professional development, and especially digital connections to shore, family, and friends.
For example, when seafarers were asked whether communications onboard influenced their employment decisions, 73% of respondents answered in the affirmative. This is a statistic that no shipping company can afford to ignore.
That’s the message that North P&I Club shared with its shipowner members recently, according to SPLASH24/7 in its recent article, “Internet access rapidly becoming a deciding factor for top crew”:
North P&I Club is encouraging its shipowner members to consider the importance of internet access on their ships to ensure they continue to attract, recruit and retain high quality crews. The issue of internet access, part of a campaign by North to help its members get the right crew, is detailed in the latest issue of the club’s loss prevention newsletter Signals.
“Like most other people today, seafarers expect to have 24-hour, seven-day-a-week access to a good quality internet service,” commented head of loss prevention Tony Baker. “Engaging with friends and family and maintaining relationships via social media is now seen as the norm. In a competitive market for officers and crew, shipowners therefore need to do everything they can to provide good connectivity at sea.”
Some ship owners and ship managers report that connectivity is second only to the pay available when recruiting seafarers. This makes connected ships significant in being an “employer of choice” moving forward.
With services like mini-VSAT Broadband and subscription options like AgilePlans by KVH making crew connectivity affordable, convenient, and risk-free, fleets that don’t provide this service risk falling behind competitively.
Want to find out more about the trends that are creating challenges for fleet crewing and manning professionals?
Learn the five key strategies to provide effective and affordable crew connectivity:
 Futurenautics “Crew Connectivity 2015”