Managing the Crew Crisis Takes Resources and Commitment

There are no quick fixes to the growing global crew crisis according to Bob Bishop, CEO of V.Ships Ship Management, the world’s largest ship management company.

“We are in it for the long run. We are prepared to offer officers and seafarers a job for life,” Mr Bishop told members of the financial community attending the fourth annual Shipping, Logistics & Offshore Services Conference sponsored by investment bank Jefferies in New York on 25 and 26 September.

Competition from land-based jobs, the shipping industry’s poor image, the constant re-qualification required to keep up with regulatory changes, criminalisation of seafarers and post-9/11 visa security issues are all contributing to the growing shortage of seagoing personnel, Mr Bishop pointed out.

“To counter this we are actively promoting marine careers in key locations, developing our own in-house recruitment network, focusing on training, career progression and retention and re-visiting former sources of marine personnel such as the US and Western Europe,” he said. “We have also committed to requiring instinctive compliance by all marine and related shore-based staff.”

“All of this requires significant investment and extensive resources which are beyond the scope of most individual shipowners and boutique ship managers,” Mr Bishop added.

V.Ships, which has a crew retention rate of 85%, manages more than 900 ships.

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