Select Committee on Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum by The Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers (FUS 38)

THE FUTURE OF THE UK SHIPPING INDUSTRY

  Your letter of 22nd January was awaiting my return to the office and I must apologise for the delay in replying. In order that you get a reply by the deadline of 3rd February I am faxing you a copy of this letter and will mail the original.

  My observations on the questions in your letter are as follows:

Might higher salaries in shore-based jobs actually encourage people to become cadets, since they can then perceive a better-paid, more structured career?

  There is no doubt that the rewards in shore based shipping business such as shipbroking, shipmanagement and agency are lower overall than say in insurance, banking etc. However the salaries are not such that a cadet would be dissuaded from a shipping career as a result. I think it is unlikely that higher salaries for shore based jobs would influence the individuals initial decision to go to sea. This factor will, of course, influence the decision to come ashore and the type of employment which is sought. It would be particularly relevant for a Foreign Going Master with significant experience.

What is your opinion of "fast track" merchant navy recruitment?

  Clearly on the engineering side fast track graduate recruitment has advantages providing, of course, it is not detrimental to the engineering officers long-term career ashore.

  In the case of deck officers the advantages are less clear. There is little to suggest someone pursuing an academic qualification even specifically maritime based, would prove suitable for "fast track" qualification as a ship's officer. (It may well be the initial experience of making nursing a graduate profession is relevant here-too much classroom teaching too little practice for what is essentially a practical profession).

  What may be worth considering is "fast tracking" deck officers in the sense that their initial college education is focused entirely on navigation and seamanship. The "business" side of their qualifications could be completed during their sea time. This may increase their available sea time and thus make them "useful" more quickly. Furthermore recent developments in the industry mean that many of the tasks normally handled by a ship's officer are now carried out by computers ashore—for example cargo stowage.

  Additionally a more structured approach for those wishing to gain academic qualifications while at sea might enhance employment opportunities ashore.

Would it be possible for shore-based companies to employ officers with certificates other than Class 1?

  Many shipping companies do employ seafarers with certificates other than Class 1. Indeed a number would prefer to do so since they are more likely to fit into the office environment ashore and yet still have the necessary operational experiences to fulfil their role ashore. Not unnaturally a Master, with his command experience, does not always find it easy to become part of a team with a desk in a corner and a PC. There are, of course, some jobs ashore which are only suited to experienced Foreign Going Masters.

  There are undoubtedly some shore based companies which are not fully conversant with the current certificate requirements and do not appreciate the level of knowledge and skill which an officer with a certificate below Class 1 possesses. More information to the industry on this aspect would undoubtedly be useful.

Mrs B Fletcher BA FICS MCIT

Director

2 February 1999


 
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