PH seafarers urged to upskill

    Jobs not affected. Filipino seafarers are among the sought-after by crewships in the world.
    Jobs not affected. Filipino seafarers are among the sought-after by crewships in the world.

    Norwegian shipping lines said recruitment of seafarers from the Philippines will neither increase nor decrease and urged Filipinos to adapt to new technologies as vessels pursue green shipping.

    Harald Solberg, chief executive officer of the Norwegian Shipowners Association (NSA) in a press briefing in Pasay City yesterday said the shipping industry is becoming increasingly concerned over the apparent “de-globalization” and protectionism sparked by the US-China trade war as this has slowed down global trade.

    For the short-term, Solberg does not see the trade war having that much of an impact.

    “The trade war, the reverse globalization will harm shipping and recruitment over the long term. We are concerned about the trade war and the more protectionist (positions because they) influence the growth of the world economy. That is a worrying signal. If the trade war goes on, triggering tariffs on imports … over the next five years I will be very worried,” said Solberg.

    For now, he said, recruitment from the Philippines remains steady.

    NSA members have a pool of 20,000 Filipino seafarers, and with a turnover of 10 percent, they hire 2,000 workers per year.

    Solberg said NSA members are able to recruit quality seafarers from the Philippines but noted they should have the most important skill: adaptability.

    He added Filipino seafarers should have competence and training new technologies such as in the efficient way of operating new ship engines, route optimization, planning of loading and offloading etc.

    “Education that is based on technology in the maritime system has a long way to go,” Solberg added.

    He added though that with the advent of autonomous sailing, seafaring jobs remain secure.

    For now, he said, autonomous sailing could only be used for shorter routes.

    The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has decided that shipping has to cut its climate gas emissions by a minimum of 50 percent by 2050.

    Norwegian shipowners are spearheading the development of gas-powered ships and fuel cells as an alternative energy source on board and continuous efforts are being made to further improve engines, hulls and propellers with a view to increasing energy efficiency and thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions from ships.

    In 2015, the world’s first fully electric car and passenger ferry, the Ampere, was launched in Norway.

    The Norwegian parliament has also decided that the country’s protected fjords should be free from emissions from emissions from cruise ships no later than 2026.