ISWAN addresses maritime recruiting crisis

ISWAN addresses maritime recruiting crisis

The International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN) has advocated for direct communication with seafarers to address the recruitment and retention issue in the maritime industry.

The welfare organisation hosted the ISWAN 2023 Seminar in November, which brought together professionals from across the maritime sector to take a solutions-focused approach to the industry’s growing recruitment and retention issue.

According to ISWAN, the seminar was designed to address the fast changes occurring in the maritime industry, as well as the ramifications for seafarers and the seafaring profession.

Expert committees representing businesses, academics, trade unions, welfare groups, and active seafarers investigated many aspects of the problem and collaborated to create viable solutions.

The strategy asks for improvement in three important areas if the marine industry is to attract and retain seafarers.

The section on ‘Fair Work’ discusses practical initiatives the maritime sector may take to address the gap between present working conditions and seafarers’ expectations.

READ: The ITF Fighting for a Fair Future

ISWAN emphasised that the maritime industry must be prepared to spend more on seafarers’ working conditions and well-being to ensure the sector’s long-term sustainability.

The ‘Inclusive Culture’ element of ISWAN’s action plan encourages the marine sector to go above basic regulatory criteria and eliminate barriers to attracting diverse talent and backgrounds.

The topic of ‘Changing Technologies – Impact on Wellbeing’ highlights the issues that seafarers face due to fast change, as well as the potential for technology to reinvent and revitalise the industry in the digital era.

ISWAN’s seminar highlighted the need for the maritime sector to prioritise listening to seafarers’ perspectives on the challenges of living and working at sea and implementing their recommendations.

READ: G2 Ocean joins ICHCA to enhance safety for seafarers

Simon Grainge, Chief Executive of ISWAN, said: “The maritime industry is at a juncture in terms of being able to attract and retain the skilled seafarers that it will need to make a successful transition to zero carbon. Seafaring can be a unique and rewarding vocation, but concerted, collaborative action is needed to make maritime careers genuinely safe, sustainable and inclusive.

“Before increasing efforts to raise the profile of the varied career paths it offers, the maritime sector must take committed action to ensure that it can provide fair working conditions and psychologically safe environments for the seafarers that it seeks to attract.”

In April, the Cook Labour Government announced that it will build a new, purpose-built Seafarers Centre in Port Hedland to accommodate the tens of thousands of seafarers.

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