Lack of Training Berths Creates Rough Seas for Maritime Industry’s Future

Lack of Training in Maritime Industry

24th May 2024

Report : Shortage of training slots threatens maritime industry’s future.

The maritime industry, a critical sector for global trade, is facing a potential storm due to a shortage of on-board training berths for aspiring seafarers. This scarcity creates a Catch-22 situation: shipping companies seek experienced personnel, while fresh graduates struggle to gain that very experience due to limited opportunities at sea.

India, a major source of manpower for the merchant navy, exemplifies this challenge. Here, mandatory on-board training for novice (beginner) seafarers after graduating from maritime institutes is a requirement. However, the number of available training berths falls far short of the annual pass-out rate. Industry estimates suggest a demand nearly double the current capacity, leaving thousands of graduates in limbo.

This shortage stems from several factors. Shipping companies, often operating on tight margins, are hesitant to invest in raw talent. Training rookies requires additional resources and supervision, which can be seen as a burden compared to readily available experienced crew. Furthermore, some companies prioritize profit over long-term sustainability, overlooking the future of the workforce.


The consequences of this trend are far-reaching. A dearth of qualified personnel can lead to understaffing on vessels, compromising safety and operational efficiency. Studies have shown a direct correlation between crew fatigue and maritime accidents. Additionally, an aging workforce, with fewer young people entering the field, creates a looming gap in expertise.

The impact extends beyond immediate operational concerns. A stifled maritime industry can hinder a nation’s economic growth. India, for instance, aspires to become a maritime hub, but this ambition hinges on having a robust workforce to navigate the seas of global trade.

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So, how can we navigate out of these rough waters? A collaborative effort is needed. Governments can incentivize shipping companies to take on trainees through subsidies or tax breaks. Educational institutions can develop training programs that better prepare graduates for the realities of shipboard life, making them more attractive to potential employers.

The industry itself needs a paradigm shift. Companies must recognize the long-term benefits of investing in young talent. In-house training programs and mentorship initiatives can foster a skilled and loyal workforce. Industry bodies can also play a role by creating a central database to match aspiring seafarers with available training berths.

The future of the maritime industry rests on the shoulders of its crew. By ensuring adequate training opportunities, we can steer this vital sector towards a smooth and prosperous voyage.


The lack of on-board training berths is a critical issue for the maritime industry. It has the potential to create a shortage of qualified personnel, impacting safety, efficiency, and economic growth. Collaborative efforts from governments, educational institutions, and the industry itself are needed to bridge this gap and ensure a smooth sailing future for the maritime world.

Also Read : India and UAE Create a new Path for Efficient Trade with IMEEC Meeting

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