By Keith Wallis — LLOYD’S LIST
SHIPPING and shipmanagement companies and regulators must work together to tackle the raft of concerns that dissuade school leavers and college graduates from embarking on a sea-going career.
Outlining the issues, serving Orient Overseas Container Line master [David] Roger Llewellyn said issues prevented people going to sea included too much bureaucracy, a poor social life, criminalisation, few opportunities to go ashore, poor management, poor training and stress due to a high workload.
Speaking at a Hong Kong Shipowners’ Association lunch to commemorate 2010 as the IMO’s Year of the Seafarer, Capt Llewellyn told guests that teamwork, with the shipping industry pulling together with the International Maritime Organization, could resolve the difficulties.
“We do not need any more codes; we have got enough codes. Some port state control inspectors are fair. Some are not fair. I have spent time worrying (about port state inspections) when I shouldn’t have been worrying,” he said.
He added that other issues could be dealt with if owners and managers were more enlightened. He said he hoped criminalisation could be addressed by the IMO because shipboard staff were an “easy target”.
Capt Llewellyn also called for changes in training with more onboard places found for cadets who could get practical experience instead of being trained at institutes where few of the instructors had gone to sea.
“There is no room for complacency. We have to work through the International Maritime Organization and then we will start to attract the right calibre of young men and women,” Capt Llewellyn said.
“Without the shipping industry, the world would cease. Seafarers have always had an important role to play in trade.”
But Capt Llewellyn, who started his sea-going career in 1961, said:
“Seafarers are known as the Cinderella’s of the world. Nobody ever sees us.”
Pointing to the technological and other changes that have taken place in the industry in the last 49 years, Capt Llewellyn said when he first started at sea it took two weeks to transport cargo by ship from Manchester to London. “Now it’s 10 days from Hong Kong to Los Angeles. Unbelievable changes have taken place,” he said.