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Seafarer shortage starts to bite

Seafarer shortage starts to bite

London: Buoyant shipping markets and a world fleet undergoing dramatic expansion are putting the supply of seafaring labour under significant pressure and many companies are now turning to China as a plentiful source of sea staff.

Oslo-listed IM Skaugen, which has 16 ships under construction in Chinese shipyards, is the latest owner to go public on the growing seafarer shortage, declaring that the rising cost of hiring LPG-competent seagoing staff was a contributory factor to its halving of net profits to $11m in 2006 (2005: $20.6m).

Only a few days ago, India's privately owned GE Shipping announced a new maritime training institute at Lonavala, some 100 kms from Mumbai. The move came as the Indian Government announced a relaxation of its rules on the employment of foreign seafarers. Until now, they have not been eligible to work on the country's coastal fleet.  [16/01/07]