The maritime industry has always been important in Indonesia. Being the world’s largest archipelagic country, Indonesia consists of more than 17,000 islands connected by waters, and this fact alone almost automatically makes Indonesia a maritime country. By Diana M, Indonesia correspondent, Maritime Fairtrade
The maritime industry is an important source of jobs for the Indonesian economy, providing more than 12 million jobs. There is potential to further increase the number of job vacancies as the industry is still developing and have yet to reach full potential.
In their everyday lives, Indonesian people rely heavily on the seas; they have been utilizing the rich and diverse resources underwater for food, livelihood, even culture. However, the industry goes beyond merely fishing, and extends to oil and gas, minerals, energy, tourism, and maritime transportation.
According to Indonesia’s Coordinating Ministry for Maritime and Investment Affairs, the country’s total land and sea area is 8.3 million km2, consisting of 0.3 million km2 of territorial sea and 3 million km2 of exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
These large figures provide an enormous potential that is pivotal for the current and future development of the country. Indonesia’s Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries reported in 2020 that the economic potential from Indonesian waters could reach up to US$1.3 trillion per year.
However, the government appears to continue struggling to take advantage of the maritime resources, and this is indicated in how fairly low the maritime sector contributes to Indonesia’s gross domestic product (GDP).
For 2020, the government targeted the maritime GDP at only 6.5 percent. In addition, former Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Edhy Prabowo said that only 10 percent of the whole resource potential has been optimized, with some reports cited even lower figures.
Since first elected in 2014 and currently serving his second term, Indonesian president Joko Widodo has always made it clear that maritime is one of the sectors he will focus on during his presidency.
He launched the Global Maritimes Axis campaign which is based on five pillars: rebuilding of maritime culture, protection and management of sea resources, development of maritime infrastructure and connectivity, maritime diplomacy, and strengthening of maritime defense.
To realize this vision, the administration has mapped out several projects to implement, and one of them is development of the sea toll road. This particular project aims to overcome connectivity issues that come with the geographical state of Indonesia in order to accelerate economic development, particularly in more remote areas.
The Indonesian government also appears to acknowledge the potential of the industry by aiming for a higher maritime GDP in the years to come. In order to do so, the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime and Investment Affairs expanded the scope and focus of the maritime sector, from nine to 11 clusters, including the management of coastal areas and small islands.
As a long-term plan, Widodo has also launched a 2045 vision which aims for Indonesia to become the world’s fifth or fourth largest economy with a US$7.3 trillion GDP. And as for maritime, the goal is to make the sector contribute 12.5 percent to the overall GDP. If Indonesia can successfully realize such an ambitious vision, it can only mean more and better job opportunities in the sector.
A member of Indonesia’s National Economics and Industry Committee (KEIN), Mohammad Nadjikh, said Indonesia might not have to wait until 2045 to create more job opportunities in the maritime sector. According to him, a committed government can create around 45 million jobs by 2025.
Former Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Rokhmin Dahuri also agreed on the same estimation, saying that if the Indonesian government is serious on making maritime one of the national economic backbones, the sector can create jobs for 35 percent of the country’s total work force.
Top five jobs
An oceanographer is someone who studies the ocean. The scope of study of an oceanographer is fairly diverse, and they learn different aspects such as chemicals in sea waters, geology of the seabed, water movement and density, as well as marine life and ecosystem, among others.
Due to this wide-ranging aspect, an oceanographer usually specializes in one of the following disciplines: chemical, biological, geological, or physical.
An oceanographer is mainly responsible for carrying out field research, collecting and analyzing data using statistical and computer modeling. A more senior oceanographer may also be responsible in drafting research proposal and managing research schedule and budgeting.
Besides providing important knowledge on Indonesia’s vast marine resources, an oceanographer can even apply their knowledge to disaster mitigation.
As Indonesia currently has not produced enough oceanographers to meet the demand, this job is one of the most promising careers to have.
Besides oceanography, oceanographers usually have a degree in marine sciences, environmental sciences, biology, geology, or other related subjects. They may work for state agencies, research companies, or NGOs. Entry-level oceanographers can earn from US$8,500 to US$20,000 per year. The more senior ones can earn up to US$35,500 annually.
- Naval architect
A naval architect, responsible for design, build, and repair various types of marine vessels, such as boats, ships, and even submarines, usually works with a group of engineers with different expertise.
A naval architect typically uses computer software to design vessels that is technically safe and comply with regulation. Overseeing the whole construction process is also their responsibility. Prior to or along the way of the construction process, a naval architect also acts as a consultant by providing necessary information and technical solutions for the project.
Naval architecture is the ideal degree for anyone who’s interested in starting a career in this field. Marine engineering, engineering, design, and mathematics are some of the other relevant degrees to enter this profession.
The starting salary for this role can range from US$8,500 to US$18,000 per year. As the career progresses, a naval architect can earn up to US$32,000 annually.
- Marine engineer
A marine engineer ensures that the ship systems function as per the design. They work closely with naval architect from start to finish, focusing on engineering designs, testing protypes, maintenance and repair works of the ship’s machinery and propulsion system.
Overseeing the construction and installation process are also part of the responsibilities. In addition, they also work on offshore platforms and drilling equipment.
A degree in marine engineering is usually the main requirement to start a career in this field. However, relevant degrees including naval architecture, electrical, electronic or mechanical engineering are applicable.
The salary for a marine engineer is fairly wide-ranging. Depending on the types of company, entry-level positions offer US$14,000 to US$17,000 per year, and more senior positions can offer up to US$44,000 every year.
- Welding engineer
A welding engineer possesses extensive knowledge in materials science, metallurgy, physics, and of course, welding. The main responsibility is to develop a set of procedures to be followed by welding operators or welders.
More specifically, for each unique project, a welding engineer designs the types of weld, determines the kinds of metal, as well as other technical details, and gathers all the data to formulate the Welding Procedure Specification (WPS) document, which will be issued prior to execution.
Thereafter, they are also responsible to supervise the whole process in accordance to the WPS and applicable international standards.
Some degrees that are required are materials engineering and welding engineering. In addition, it is worth noting that in order to practice as a welding engineer in Indonesia, there are training programs and certification to take.
The entry-level salary for this role is around US$18,000 per year, with more senior positions paying up to US$33,000 annually.
- Drilling engineer
A drilling engineer can work either onshore or offshore for a mineral or oil and gas project, but the job scopes are similar. They plan, develop, and oversee drilling operations, and they usually work together with geologists in ensuring the protection of environment.
A drilling engineer is responsible to collect and analyze data related to existing and potential wells, make a budgeting plan, create comprehensive overall and day-to-day schedule as well as supervising implementation, and provide solutions to any obstacles found onsite.
To start a career as a drilling engineer, a degree in geology, petroleum, mechanical or civil engineering is needed. However, almost all engineering disciplines can be considered for this position.
Depending on companies, the salary for a drilling engineer is varied. Entry-level graduates can earn from US$5,000 to US$13,500 per year. Meanwhile, more experienced professional can earn up to US$38,000 per year.