Demand for Filipino officers continues to surge

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The demand for Filipino officers is rising, causing the continued tightness in the supply-demand balance, reports Japan’s Kaiji Press. In particular, the supply of engineers and senior officers remains low against the current level of demand.

Quoting local manning sources, Kaiji claimed that the supply-demand balance of officers had been easing up from late-2008 to the summer of 2009 and against this backdrop, some companies had also started cutting wage levels. However, the supply-demand balance has once again tightened raising fears that salaries could also start rising.

“Those seafarers who used to be deployed on existing ships that have been removed from the fleet (due to scrapping and other reasons) are being made to serve on newbuildings,” claimed a local source, indicating that the shortage in supply has not yet been resolved. He added that fleet expansion was rather slow but the growing trend in the volume of ships in the market was not changing, thereby highlighting, in particular, the shortage in engineers and senior officers.

In addition to the existing employers of Filipino officers, it has also become clear that some ship owners in Europe, Taiwan/Hong Kong and other regions are shifting to Filipino seafarers for their senior officers. Indeed, shipowners who had not previously considered the Philippines as their main ship officer supply source were now focusing more on the region. As Kaiji reported, demand for Filipino seafarers, especially senior officers, has been surging for higher spec vessel types such as tankers, product carriers and chemical tankers that are suffering from delayed market recovery.

One source claimed that salary levels were not the only thing that mattered to seafarers but more the Japanese way of retaining seafarers through the reinforcement of the benefits of the seafarers and their families, as well as enhancement of care given to them, such as the holding of parties and seminars at local venues to be attended by the management team.