Mark Charman, CEO of Faststream Recruitment Group, on ensuring the incoming slew of LNG and LPG vessels have the proper level of trained crew and officers.
As the world anticipates the gradual recovery of the maritime industry in the coming years, a strong, cohesive and well-trained crew will be the backbone of ships that ply the world’s oceans.
Liquid natural gas (LNG), for instance, is having its day in the sun as the maritime sector looks towards cleaner energy to drive its ships.
In the next few years, approximately 135 new LNG tankers and large numbers of LPG tankers will come into service. Hiring opportunities abound for the LNG sector as demand for crew on these ships far outstrips supply, especially among senior officers.
LNG is a very specialised, cryogenic cargo and must be handled, carried and refrigerated properly. Crew on LNG vessels, the bulk of who come from Asia, need to be experienced in gas shipping and gas tankers, and have a high regard for safety.
New crew looking to go into LNG need to meet high standards. The Society of Gas Tanker and Terminal Operators (SIGTTO) has developed competency standards for various senior officer ranks on LNG carriers and has published minimum accepted experience levels for such ranks.
Based on the standards set, it will take approximately 10 years for a deck cadet to become a master and an engineering cadet to become a chief engineer. The high wages and standard required means LNG carriers represent a prestige sector of the shipping fleet. LNG specialists will be considered the crème de la crème of the shipping industry, and will be in high demand as the sector continues to grow. To fill these positions, the LNG sector is looking to recruit personnel from other vessel types, such as LPG and even cruise ship engineers with dual fuel experience.
However, it is not enough for companies to pay a premium for LNG Seafarers. To hire a crew – and have them stay – companies need to think about their value proposition. What is it that your company is offering – is it a short-term post with a high salary, or a longer term package with further opportunities? Seafarers should not be treated as just short term hires, but with a consideration of how they fit within the wider company.
Mark Charman will be speaking at both the Maritime CEO Forum and Asia Pacific Maritime next week in Singapore.