EMS opts for vessel escorts

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Vessels managed by EMS Ship Management will continue to pass through the Gulf of Aden but will now connect to naval convoys to protect against attack from Somali pirates, writes Sean Moloney from Mumbai.

Addressing a conference of over 250 EMS-employed officers in Mumbai, Svein Pedersen, company President, said there were two vessels waiting at Fujairah to join the first convoy, but all EMS ships would join a naval escort, he stressed.

He told the officers: “I know there are a lot of concerns from seafarers about whether we go through the Gulf of Aden or not. I attended a conference in London at Intertanko where it was generally accepted that with the increasing number of naval vessels in the area, the Gulf of Aden would be safe enough to transit.”

Meanwhile, EMS has suggested that it will work to nearly double its current crew pool within the next two years as it seeks to man the 40 newbuildings it will take into management.

Simon Frank, Director of Crewing and Marine Personnel at EMS Crew Management, said further development of the company’s cadet programme coupled with an aggressive move into the Philippines manning market as well as crew centres in Indonesia, China, Eastern Europe and South America would be behind the plan to increase the manning pool from 6,000 to 10,000 by 2010.

He told SMI: “The strategy at all times is to develop our cadet programme; to develop our familiarisation training and to aggressively enter the Philippines market to pile up numbers that we have today and to add a few extra local areas like Indonesia, China and some eastern European and South American countries.”

Mr Frank said the Indonesian market was becoming a more realistic recruitment area. “I have been to see some of training facilities there and I am pleased with the quality of the Indonesians. There is a political issue, however, in that there are problems in them getting a US Visa – so you have challenges on the trading patterns of the vessels. English is also an area where we need extra training.

“The cadet programme alone will not secure our goal of 10,000 seafarers by 2010 but we have said that our aim is to have at least one cadet per ship,” he said.

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