It’s well-known that maritime recruitment / crewing can be a huge issue for many small to medium-sized shipping companies. At the same time if you are a seaman it is tough to find a new job in reputable shipping companies, finding yourself in a new ship with good living conditions.
Crewing in Maritime Industry
50 years ago, shipping companies started to employ seamen from Far East (mainly the Philippines) because they were cheaper and more abundant than Europeans. 26 years ago they started to employ Ex USSR seamen because they were cheaper than Far Eastern crews and more abundant. A shipping company located in Europe had to have local access to the countries of origin of the crews so they could attract and hire suitable candidates. Big companies established their own manning offices in cities like Manila, Odessa, etc while the smaller companies were and still are serviced by manning agents.
Shipping companies need good seamen and seamen need good shipping companies. We are living in an imperfect world so not all seamen are suitable for all jobs and not all companies are good. Similar to all other businesses every company tries to employ the best talent at the lowest possible cost. If you are a big company you have the needed resources to find and employ and retain the best talent available. If you are not then you try to select the best from a pool presented by manning agents.
If you are a seafarer you try to be employed by the big and most reputable companies so you can enjoy good economic and living conditions, working in young and better ships, have steady work and good salary. The big question is how do you go about achieving this. This is not easy, it’s time-consuming and in the majority of cases a very expensive process especially when you are fresh out of the Marine Academy. Even if you manage to secure employment in a big and reputable company you may find yourself out of work after few contracts because the fleet of the company changed or reduced. Then you have to choose another employer that you probably do not know so you are forced to find employment through manning agents and depend on their knowledge for the conditions of your next employment.
You do not need to be a rocket scientist to understand the inefficiencies of the existing system and the associated costs involved. It is estimated that each year more than $2bn are spent for crewing services (not crew salaries and expenses).
If you are a shipping company the question is WHY do you need to do all that in the age of the Internet? Why you have to pay money for selecting seamen who live thousands of miles away from you just because someone is located close to them? An even bigger question is WHY you have to pay monthly fees or incur monthly office expenses and managerial time if you maintain an in-house manning office for people you already have employed in the past and you are quite happy to re-employ?
The big question if you are a seaman is HOW do you manage to find employment in good companies?
The simple answer is because there is no tool to use, so you do what everyone else is doing.
We in Vesseljoin created this tool. In the age of the Internet, you do not have to be anywhere to find someone. You just need your computer or your mobile phone. Seamen from 67 countries share the same opinion with us.