Launch of BIMCO/ISF 2010 Manpower Study
IMO Headquarters, 30 November 2010
Opening address by
E.E. Mitropoulos, Secretary-General
BIMCO and ISF leaders, Chairman of the IMO Counicl, heads of other international shipping organizations, Members of the Steering Group on the 2010 Manpower Study, Distinguished MSC delegates, observers and other guests, media representatives, Ladies and gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to welcome you here to IMO Headquarters for the launch of the fourth BIMCO/ISF Manpower Study, the most comprehensive worldwide assessment of the global supply and demand for merchant seafarers.
In the 20 years since BIMCO and ISF conducted their first manpower study, the maritime community has seen enormous changes; and today, it stands poised on the brink of even more change. Historically, change is primarily driven by economic considerations and we all know the tremendous economic difficulties the industry has had to face since the global financial crisis struck three years ago; but environment-, safety- and security-related concerns also now exert a stronger influence than ever before.
There will always be a demand for highly-trained, skilled and knowledgeable personnel to operate and manage shipping, both ashore and at sea. Improvements in ship design, construction and equipment have brought about tremendous improvements in safety at sea and the protection of the marine environment but the focus now is firmly on the human element; on the need to ensure that there are sufficient people, equipped with the necessary skills to cope with whatever may come their way, now and in the future.
Against this background, and in a year that has seen a renewed spotlight on seafarer issues under the banner of the “Year of the Seafarer” theme, the fourth BIMCO/ISF Manpower Study comes at a most appropriate time. Previous editions of the Study have served to alert the shipping world of serious manpower shortfalls on the horizon and acted as a spur to initiatives to attract youngsters to the maritime profession, such as the “Go to Sea!” campaign, which IMO and other concerned parties launched in 2008. No doubt this latest version will provide more valuable insight into the manpower supply and demand situation, and whether or not such initiatives are beginning to have a positive effect – or, whether more negative considerations such as piracy, criminalization, abandonment and concerns over seafarers’ welfare are holding sway, which, if so, should galvanize intensified efforts to change the situation and reverse the trend.
I do not wish to steal anyone’s thunder so I will say no more, except to pass on the gratitude I am sure we all share to BIMCO and ISF for continuing with this valuable study, and to Warwick University and the Dalian Maritime University in China for providing much of the academic input to it.
Ladies and gentlemen, I now hand over to Peter Hinchliffe, the ICS/ISF Secretary-General, who will, in turn, introduce those of the steering group that oversaw production of the study to give us their insight into the findings.