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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Industry associations agree to co-ordinate efforts to attract new recruits

This week's conference on "Resolving Shipping's Image Crisis" provided the opportunity for stakeholders to discuss the inter-related issues of shipping's image and the growing shortage of qualified seafarers. The summit, organised by Ship Management International and held in Limassol, attracted senior representatives of i.a. shipmanagers, shipowners, industry associations and maritime environment protection associations (MEPAS), government officials and the European Commission.


H.E. the Minister of Communications and Works, Nicos Nicolaides, welcomed delegates and spoke of the very positive and vital role that shipping is playing in world trade and the appropriateness of discussing the image of shipping, which is often distorted due to the selective publicity it receives. He also spoke of the policies adopted by the Government of Cyprus to raise shipping standards to world class levels and the support it gives to industry.


In his keynote speech, Capt, Dirk Fry as President of the Cyprus Shipping Chamber, highlighted the important role that the government played in Cyprus and elsewhere in promoting shipping through appropriate support mechanisms. He also described the very successful Cyprus Shipping Public Relations Campaign, undertaken by the Chamber with the support of the Cyprus Government. The main purpose of this Campaign is to highlight the positive side and benefits of Shipping, its important contribution to the economy and society of Cyprus and the sound employment opportunities that exist in the Shipping Industry for school leavers and university graduates.


In his introductory remarks, (click here for the accompanying presentation), INTERTANKO MD Peter Swift, who chaired the first day of the Summit, also spoke of the role that the responsible media, politicians and legislators have in influencing the image of shipping with the public. He spoke of the importance of recognising that events, actions and words frequently reinforce existing perceptions, and how deep rooted campaigns are often needed to have any significant impact on shifting these.


Having highlighted the principal concerns, ranging from industry performance improvements, industry profiling, awareness and promotion, to living and working conditions, training, welfare and professional status, the meeting moved on to "The Way Ahead".


After considerable debate about the need for a greater cooperative effort, a concerted campaign and the development of appropriate strategies, the delegates agreed that the leading associations should endeavour to co-ordinate their efforts on lifting and promoting the image of industry with a particular focus on attracting recruits into the industry. While the necessity of having a strong national focus was well recognised, it was also acknowledged that a greater coordination at the macro-level was also beneficial. INTERTANKO agreed to join ICS/ the International Shipping Federation (ISF) and Intermanager, along with others in this effort, which will also involve external advisors on communication.


The group also recognised that it would be useful to explore, as a next stage, the options for further co-operation on the assessment of training academies, the establishment of enhanced training standards, the raising of the norms of accommodation standards on ships, (including the provision of cadet berths, training facilities and better recreational rooms).


Finally the delegates called for more united action in pursuing welfare concerns such as opposition to arbitrary criminalisation legislation and the denial / limitation of shore access, the need for total adherence to the IMO/ILO Guidelines on the fair treatment of seafarers in the event of a maritime accident, and the ratification of the Seafarers' Identity Documents Convention (Revised), (C185), 2003 and the Maritime Labour Convention, (MLC) 2006.


Contact: Peter Swift