Like many specialist technical industries, the maritime sector depends upon having reliable access to highly trained, competent and engaged seafaring personnel. Across the board, this is an issue of growing concern for shipowners and operators across every vessel segment, their managers and manning agents, alike. In 2015, the BIMCO/International Chamber of Shipping Manpower Report (the most recent statistics available to the industry) estimated the global demand for seafarers was estimated at 1,545,000 people; with a marked shortfall of 16,500 officers. Worryingly, this report suggested that by 2020, the officer shortfall is expected to be around 92,000, and by 2025 a staggering 147,500 officers will be needed.
At AET, we are fortunate to have a direct relationship with MISC Group’s maritime education and training arm, Malaysian Maritime Academy (ALAM), and an enviable retention rate of 98%; but we know that we can never take this for granted. We feel that, alongside our peers, we must continue to work to enhance the seafaring experience and promote maritime careers to a future generation of potential employees. This is why AET, with our parent company MISC Group, invest heavily in quality maritime education and training, for future and existing personnel. It is a key element of our sustainability strategy.
Aside from its shipping business, maritime education, training & innovation are a priority for the company and its Malaysian Maritime Academy (ALAM) is ranked amongst the top 10% in the world, as ranked by DNV GL. The academy enrols over 16,000 students yearly who aspire to become seafaring professionals and maritime leaders. These are seafarers who are entering a rapidly changing maritime industry, which will place different demands upon them, and present new opportunities.
Increased digitalisation and automation of shipping operations and reporting demands new skills of seafarers. Increasing connectivity between ship-and-shore, between work and home, likewise, is changing the onboard experience. The skills required for sea and shore share increasing commonalities, and the opportunities available for those looking to transition from sea to shore later in their careers are encouraged and well rewarded. It is the responsibility of the maritime industry to make this clear to the wider world: to sell shipping as a vocation.
In our efforts to maintain a sustainable pipeline of talent, AET fully sponsors the training of around 300 ALAM cadets each year. In addition, we invest in our own manning and crewing offices located in the major seafaring nations, and through ALAM also provide specialist skills training for our dynamic positioning, lightering and LNG dual-fuelled vessels. Importantly, we also run several lifelong learning programmes, sea-to-shore transition initiatives and talent acceleration programmes. Afterall, it is thanks to our people at sea and ashore, and the training that they receive throughout their careers at AET, that high levels of safety and performance quality are achieved.