Geneva: The International Labour Organization (ILO) said Wednesday that governments, shipowners, seafarer organizations, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations had taken steps to make seafaring more attractive for young people
The ILO said in a statement these groups met in Geneva between Feb. 25 and March 1 to adopt the measures to improve the attractiveness of seafaring for young people.
Shipping carries over 90 percent of world trade in terms of tonnage and the movement of millions of passengers.
"This meeting addressed the issues and approaches needed to ensure that the future of work in the maritime shipping sector is attractive, including for women and other groups vulnerable to discrimination, and that it retains qualified seafarers," said the meeting's chairperson, Henrik Munthe, a Norwegian attorney at law.
He said that without qualified seafarers, shipping, the engine of global trade, could not function.
ILO said a creative approach, involving the social partners and all other relevant stakeholders, is needed to achieve both meaningful and viable solutions.
The organization said that while there are many positive and attractive aspects to a maritime career, there are also challenges and issues that may dissuade young people from becoming seafarers and may cause experienced seafarers to leave the sea.
The projected seafarer shortage, particularly for officers, calls for promoting good practices and addressing problem areas to ensure that there are qualified and motivated seafarers in the future.
Maritime shipping, as with other sectors, is adjusting to ongoing technological developments, said the ILO.
These include automation and digitalization, reduced crew sizes and the resultant potential stress and isolation, limited shore leave and changes in shipping operations and management.
Developments in communication technology, such as internet access, including on the high seas, are generally positive, providing seafarers with the means to keep in contact with friends and family ashore, but these also may lead to less social interaction on board