The 2010 study on the worldwide demand and supply of seafarers carried out by BIMCO and ISF (BIMCO/ISF Manpower Update) suggests that while the supply and demand for ratings are more or less balanced there are still some shortages for officers, particularly for certain grades and for ship types such as tankers and offshore support vessels. The worldwide supply of seafarers in 2010 was estimated to be 624,000 officers and 747,000 ratings; while the current estimate of worldwide demand for seafarers (in 2010) is 637,000 officers and 747,000 ratings.
But any global shortage of seafarers, especially officers, and however modest, threatens the very future of the international shipping industry, which is the lifeblood of world trade.
The “Go to Sea!” campaign was launched in November 2008 in association with the International Labour Organization, the “Round Table” of shipping NGOs – BIMCO, ICS/ISF, INTERCARGO and INTERTANKO – and the International Transport Workers Federation.
The specific aim is to promote seafaring as an attractive option for young people of the right calibre, one which can provide them with rewarding, stimulating and long-term prospects, not only at sea but also in the broader maritime industry.
With the “Go to sea!” initiative, IMO has opened an umbrella under which industry and Governments can mount their own campaigns to improve seafarer recruitment.
If the global pool of competent and efficient seafarers is to meet future demand, then seafaring must be presented to younger generations as a viable career choice