Decision-making needs to go back to the hands of crew and away from shore-based managers, says InterManager President Alastair Evitt.
“I regret to say it – but in many cases shipboard management teams have to be retrained to think for themselves, to understand the commercial issues and to have an awareness of product and service delivery,” he will tell delegates at the influential CMA conference in the USA today (March 21st).
Taking part in the opening round table debate, entitled: The State of the Industry Today, Mr Evitt will outline modern issues affecting the recruitment and retention of quality seafarers.
Describing how he believes current maritime legislative and methods are “driving decision making from the bridge and control room of the vessels to the respective shore-based management office”, Mr Evitt will encourage the shipping industry to place more importance on the training of officers and crew to improve career opportunities and to put sea-based roles on a par with university graduates.
“It is incumbent upon the industry to use modern communications and training facilities to return the responsibility for onboard management to the vessels – where it rightfully belongs – and in doing so restore the pride and self respect of those serving at sea,” he will say, pointing out: “It is our responsibility to promote and enhance the image of the industry and the career opportunities that it presents.”
Mr Evitt, Managing Director of Meridian Marine Management, says he has noticed a rise in the number of enquiries for cadet positions since the recession began and also following recent announcements that UK university tuition fees are set to rise: “Certainly our own experience has shown a marked rise in cadetship enquiries as the recession in the UK has had the combined effect of decimating graduate employment opportunities and increasing the cost of university courses up to 300%.”
Calling for the industry to re-introduce management training, Mr Evitt will say: “The whole maritime cluster is dependent on high quality candidates passing through the system. The attraction of quality entrants and training them accordingly is a long term investment. Officer training must be seen as university-equivalent vocational training.”