Action must be taken now to be ready for future challenges, says crewing agency

The industry needs to take action now to be ready for future crewing challenges and ensure quality seafarers are staying in their careers at sea, says manning agency Senator Crewing Manila.

A BIMCO report revealed that there will be an additional 89,510 officers needed by 2026 and currently there are 1.89 million seafarers operating the global fleet. There has been a reduction in Filipino seafarers since the COVID19 pandemic.

Senator Crewing Manila, part of the Columbia Group, is prioritizing recruiting top talent across the country to fill the lost positions traditionally held by Filipino seafarers. The company is leading the way in attracting Filipinos back to seafaring by prioritizing the wellbeing and satisfaction through its Crew and Wellbeing Program, providing a supportive channel for crews undergoing personal challenges. 

Capt Gilbert Garcia, Director and General Manager at Senator Crewing, said: “We need to ensure we are making shipping an attractive industry for seafarers. We must look at prioritizing mental health, streamline administrative processes, and update training for the digital era. Fair employment practices and global collaboration are crucial. Simplifying procedures and ensuring clear contracts can ease the burden on seafarers.

“At Senator we have transformed the look and feel of our manning agency focusing on applicants and existing crew members’ wellbeing, comfort and privacy, with the addition of an area for families in our office along with a playground, prayer room and canteen. We believe our seafarers should feel at home when visiting us and as such, they are presented with a modern style, welcoming and supportive staff, digitalized processes and online services. The waiting time to process documents and formalities have been significantly reduced, resulting in the applicant’s experience from the reception desk to the interview being more pleasant and memorable.”

A seafarer on the navigation bridge. Photo credit: iStock/ gor-Kardasov

Following a recent rise in seafarers abandonment cases, Senator Crewing prides itself on providing fully trained crews with employment with quality companies. It prioritizes its corporate strategy by only entering into manning agreements with reputable companies with a proven track record of providing quality care and wellbeing services to their crews.

Capt Garcia added: “We are now starting to see some reputable companies offer health and wellbeing services and good internet connectivity onboard, which helps combat the issues of loneliness and isolation felt by many Filipino seafarers, which is great news. We also ensure our crews are well trained with regards to cyber security and the negative effects of internet addiction and social isolation. 

“Raising awareness at the pre-departure briefings about various challenges such as mental health, bullying and harassment, medical claims, piracy, environmental protection and many other topics is key to our success and the excellent performance of our crew.”              

Top photo credit: iStock/ shironosov

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