IMO’s Dominguez warns that war risks are making seafarer recruitment even harder

One thing that shipowners and managers never want to hear is that they will have to pay more to operate their ships – be that the price of fuel, the price of insurance, or the cost of employing staff. Therefore the warning from IMO secretary general Arsenio Dominguez that the increase in war risks would make the recruitment of seafarers even harder than it already is will, given the steep rise in insurance costs for any vessels wanting to transit dangerous areas, be unwelcome news.

Secretary general Arsenio Dominguez said last week that seafarers were the “innocent victims” of the heightened tensions in the Middle East. Dominguez condemned the attacks on commercial shipping, called for a de-escalation of the crisis and repeated his demands for the release of the car carrier Galaxy Leader and its crew. That vessel was hijacked by Houthi militants on November 19th.

Dominguez said that he had spoken to a 20-member group of nations from the region, including Yemen, to work out how to improve security for shipping, including using funds from wealthier nations. “The current situation doesn’t paint the best picture,” he said during a briefing at the IMO’s London headquarters. “We have an uphill battle to attract seafarers in the future.”

“The industry … is reassessing the effectiveness of the current guidelines. Because there are new threats. They have now changed from the way that piracy was taking place over 10 years ago to the use of technologies like drones”, Dominguez said.

The IMO’s maritime safety committee, which meets in May, will consider how to update the advice after feedback from member states and the industry, he said.

A survey last November by Danica showed that pay had risen, while for senior ranks it had surged.