New seafarers encounter recruitment challenges for off-route ship assignments

Some new seafarers have faced recruitment problems due to discrepancies between the actual ship they got on board and the one they were supposed to join, according to Captain Soe Min Aung, president of the Myanmar Seafarers Federation (MSF).
Currently, there are rare job opportunities for new seafarers because of training conditions and language barriers, he said.
“When a seaman arrives in a foreign country to get on board, the actual ship is not the one he has agreed to work. Types and names differ. Sometimes, the ship is found to be of deficient standard, and it is unacceptable. The problem is that they have paid the brokerage and upfront fees. If they return, they will lose their money. The brokers said that these seafarers have been employed, and they have returned at their discretion,” he said.
At present, as some countries that used to produce many seafarers have become economically prosperous and their citizens are not willing to work as seafarers, there is a shortage of seafarers and, therefore, plenty of recruitment to replace their positions.
“The number of seafarers from Myanmar isn’t increasing as many as we expect. The reason is, I don’t mean for all of them, but most of the freshers are weak in English. Another factor is that all professional courses are given in the classroom, so ship owners are not satisfied with their practical knowledge when they ask our seamen in detail. What they know is just what they learn in the classroom. When they are asked if they can actually work, they cannot give satisfactory answers to ship owners,” he said.
Therefore, these issues need to be resolved through the coordinated efforts of seafarers, organizations, authorities, local crewing agents and training schools, he suggested. — MT/ZN

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