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InterManager: ‘There is a serious oversupply of seafarers’

Douglas: How shipping has changed. In the boom times one of the few bottlenecks for owners making ever-fatter profits was a perceived potential shortage of seafarers as the global fleet expanded at record levels. Now, however, as the industry enters its eighth year of recession, a leading name in shipmanagement tells Maritime CEO of the severe oversupply in crew numbers across the world.

Captain Kuba Szymanski is the secretary general of InterManager, the association for shipmanagers.

“There is a serious oversupply of seafarers, especially in the offshore sector, but also in the container trade. This means no pressure on salaries and conditions of employment coming from seafarers,” Szymanski says.

The often talked about shortage of sea staff, the InterManager boss says is a “very dangerous myth”.

Szymanski is confident shipmanagement as a business is one set to grow, helped by the latest generation of owners being more hands off when it comes to the traditional hands on running of day-to-day operations at shipping lines.

“Owners who have decided to relinquish access to sea staff are now heavily dependent on crew and shipmanagers. I can see this trend deepening,” says the Polish national.



  1. This may well be true of the Container and Offshore sectors but it most definitely is not for the Chemical Tanker sector. I do not believe that the shortage of good well qualified staff in this sector is a myth at all.

  2. We’re never too experienced to fake it till we learn it.
    What happens when you’re suddenly expected to start selling your good ideas to diverse, skeptical stakeholders outside your area of expertise? Intellectually, you know you need to persuade and inspire, but you just can’t bring yourself to do it. So, you put more work into your facts and figures — and when your ideas repeatedly go unheard, you conclude that the organization and its key players are “political.”
    Seafarers were never on ‘pressure’ side, just couple years it is was serious shortage of sea professionals. Politics.

  3. I think the headline here is a bit misleading. Over the last 12mths there has clearly been an increase in candidate availability in the offshore market, and reading the news today it looks to continue with Subsea 7 laying up 6 more vessels. This is only 1 part of the market though. There continues to be a seafarer shortage in the tanker sector – especially for seafarers with LNG, LPG, VLGC and chemical experience. The candidates that are available often do not have tanker familiarisation, DCE qualifications or the required sea-time on appropriate vessel types and therefore can’t easily transfer across.

    1. right on spot Martin! Kuba apparently nees to lower ‘c’ consumption, and t4 wages for hard working seaman. politics! shipmanagment co’s & FOC are ones screwed market at first place..atb

  4. A very relevant, but also a complex question. And the answers differ very much, depending on competency, industry and country. A new report published the 5th of November 2015 by COWI (a Danish leading consulting company) reveals a significant lack of navigators in Denmark over the next 10 years. The report concludes that there is today a strong demand and a big shortage of Danish navigators in and around the offshore sector and on special vessels, where the very low unemployment rate of less than two percent is perceived as a serious problem.

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