EMSA chief claims the crew shortage is already affecting ship safety

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The shortage of crew coupled with the rapid promotion of unsuitable officers is already having repercussions on the safety side and it is up to the shipping industry to do more and to change its thinking on the issue, according to Willem de Ruiter, Executive Director of The European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA).

In an exclusive interview published in the latest issue of Ship Management International, Willem de Ruiter said the crew shortage “is having repercussions on the safety side as far as I can interpret statistics from accidents – it is happening already. The crew issue will be top of the agenda in years to come. Here industry could do more.”

He said the shipping industry has always believed it is enough to order ships and that the crew can be bought. “Well that is no longer evident. The ships will be delivered at a certain time but you may find you cannot get the competent crews.”

He warned that the construction of ships had to go hand-in-hand with the development of crew. “You cannot simply leave the problem to governments. It is a serious issue and I believe it is an issue that will not go away but the solution will involve partnerships between private industry and governments – they cannot do it alone,” he said.