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December 2, 2005

Worldwide officer shortage is around 10,000

There is currently a worldwide shortage of around 10,000 ships' officers--and a "significant" surplus of ratings.

Those are two of the findings in the he fourth BIMCO/ISF Manpower Update which was published today.

The report is the result of over a year's work by BIMCO, ISF and the Institute of Employment Research at Warwick University, collecting data from maritime administrations and shipping companies to build up a comprehensive picture of the global situation regarding the availability of seafarers for the world's merchant fleet.

The worldwide supply of seafarers is estimated at:

466,000 officers

721,000 ratings

Worldwide demand is estimated at:

476,000 officers

586,000 ratings

The update thus reveals a continuing shortage of qualified officers, of around 10,000 or 2 percent of the total workforce, and a significant surplus of ratings.

Key issues arising from the report include:

The continuing supply shift from OECD to the Far East, South-East Asia and Eastern Europe.

An increasing overall demand for seafarers, with particular pressure on certain grades and ship types.

Aging OECD senior officers and a lack of replacements from elsewhere.

The need to increase training and recruitment and to reduce wastage.

In summary, BIMCO and ISF conclude: "there is a modest shortage of officers worldwide and a continuing surplus of ratings. While the shortfall of officers is smaller than forecast in 2000, certain sectors of the industry have experienced severe shortages, and the continuing growth of the world fleet, combined with work pressures on crews, indicate that demand for qualified seafarers will continue to increase over the next decade. This demand will only be met if the increase in levels of recruitment and training is maintained and if wastage rates are reduced."