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Well-Trained Crew Will be Assets in Shipping’s Greener Future

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By The Maritime Executive 12-28-2019 03:42:48

Seafarers are set to be viewed as an asset rather than a commodity in the future as the global maritime sector embraces greener technology that requires a more skilled workforce.

That’s the view of crewing specialist Henrik Jensen, Managing Director and Founder of Danica Crewing Services. Jensen says: “New technologies and smarter vessel operating systems will require crew with much more explicit competencies and skillsets than today.

“Training will also have to be more ship specific,” he advises, predicting: “Training costs will increase and money invested in each seafarers’ training will be higher. If a seafarer leaves the company then this investment will be lost. Seafarers will move from being a commodity today to being an asset in which the shipowner has invested.”

Forecasting that shipowners will need to develop much more watertight strategies on how to attract, train and retain crew than today, Jensen warns: “The ones who do not focus on their crew will not be able to cope with future technologies and competition.”

Jensen believes that tomorrow’s shipping industry will need to embrace greener technologies and put environmental measures at the heart of their business model in order to chime with the requirements of the consumer and employee of the future.

“I think shipowners are facing huge technical challenges in the nearest years to come brought about by requirements to reduce the environmental impact of sea transport,” he says.

He predicts that it will be consumer pressure rather than the drive to meet the IMO’s 2050 goals that will fuel a green revolution in the shipping sector. “We are all now more aware of climate change and the effect our individual actions as consumers have. 

“At present, goods in the E.U. display labels showing their environmental rating (A*, A, B etc). What will happen when consumers realize that their new TV set has been transported on a large container vessel at 25 knots across miles of ocean, potentially creating tons of CO2 emissions? Maybe the transport of the TV set is causing more pollution than the it generates in use over its lifespan?

“When the Greta Thunberg generation become consumers these questions will be asked and requirements for green transport will become a pressure towards shipping companies. In addition, tomorrow’s maritime workforce will also want to join an industry it sees as greener and environmentally responsible.”

To develop innovative new solutions will take time and require new technologies.

“There will be a diversity of solutions using different fuels and technologies and, most probably, there will not be a common propulsion solution for ships like we have today with traditional marine engines,” he predicts, “and in parallel the systems on vessels will become smarter and digitalized – creating new and more specific requirements for the crew of the future.”

The opinions expressed herein are the author's and not necessarily those of The Maritime Executive.