BIMCO – ISF shipping industry statistics

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We recently ran across some interesting statistics from a 2005 joint study on manpower from BIMCO and the ISF.

Q: How many officers are currently employed aboard ships?

A: Approximately 466,000

Here’s a chart of the numbers;

Numbers and nationality of world's seafarers

Regarding this chart the study notes:

An updated estimate of global seafarer supply has been produced based on the most recent national statistics provided by authorities in almost all principal labor supply and other maritime countries. The worldwide supply of seafarers in 2005 is estimated to be 466,000 officers and 721,000 ratings. The OECD countries (North America, Western Europe, Japan etc.) remain an important source of officers, although Eastern Europe has become increasingly significant with a large increase in officer numbers. The Far East and South East Asia (the “Far East”), and the Indian sub-continent remain the largest sources of supply of ratings and are rapidly becoming a key source of officers.

Here is the age structure of officers from OECD countries;

Dependence on ageing OECD officers

The study tells us:

The world fleet continues to rely heavily on officers from Europe, North America, Japan and other OECD countries However, over 25% of these are over 50 years old, and well over50% are over 40. Most are in senior positions such as Masters or Chief Engineers. The impact of their retirement, without adequate numbers of well trained and experienced replacements, could be severe.

The study itself discus, in depth, manpower issues facing the industry. You can download the report summary, including more information on the above charts HERE or the full report HERE.