Day of the Seafarer 2023: A Message From Wallem
On the Day of the Seafarer 2023, Wallem would like to express its gratitude to the many talented men and women worldwide whose unwavering commitment to their profession helps to keep ships sailing and goods moving.
Of course, we are particularly proud and appreciative of the 7,000 seafarers in our employment. Our success as a company depends on you – just as the success of the maritime industry depends on the 1.9 million individuals who make up the global seafaring workforce.
Indeed, the importance of the human element in maintaining a functioning supply chain cannot be overstated; and yet the maritime industry is facing an employment crisis born of a failure to attract and retain crew in sufficient numbers.
Collectively, ship owners, charterers and managers can do more to ensure personnel feel happy, safe, and respected on board their vessels. To this end, we must promote diversity and inclusion within the workforce – an area in which Wallem is proud to be an industry leader.
Another priority for any forward-thinking maritime company is investment in digital technology. Nevertheless, it is important to remember that, for all they offer in terms of safety, efficiency and sustainability enhancements, AI-based tools are intended to support – not replace – human expertise.
On the topic of sustainability, this year’s Day of the Seafarer reflects the International Maritime Organization’s World Maritime Theme for 2023 – MARPOL at 50 – Our commitment goes on – and examines seafarers’ contribution to protecting the marine environment.
While those working at sea have a duty to respect the marine environment and protect it to the best of their abilities, the responsibility lies with their employers to provide solutions that facilitate eco-friendly ship operations – and to train seafarers in their effective deployment.
However, as the Mission to Seafarers’ latest Seafarers Happiness Index identifies, the maritime workforce faces a lack of access to relevant, structured training programmes. Recognising that competent crew are essential to safe and sustainable ship operations, Wallem takes training seriously.
Our network of training centres ensures our seafarers can perform their jobs to the highest of standards, while our comprehensive performance-management programme allows them to maintain these standards through continual appraisals, skill-gap analyses, and performance tracking.
We also foster a culture of empowerment built on engagement and responsibility, encouraging our personnel to take ownership of – and pride in – their work. Our e-learning platform, which is accessible anywhere at any time, offers crew opportunities for ongoing self-improvement.
On this Day of the Seafarer, we acknowledge the vital contribution seafarers make to the industry and reiterate our commitment to ensuring our colleagues at sea are happy, safe, and equipped to face the challenges of shipping now and in the years ahead – because, as we often say here at Wallem, the future is human.
John-Kaare Aune is CEO of Wallem.
The opinions expressed herein are the author's and not necessarily those of The Maritime Executive.