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Firm welcomes gov't moves to upskill seafarers

Updated: Sep 30, 2023

UPSKILLING. Wilhelmsen Ship Management vice president for marine personnel Anette Bjerke Hoey (left) and Wilhelmsen vice president of marketing and communication Esther Gan. Hoey says they welcome government policies that aim to further improve the skills of Filipino seafarers. (Photo by Joann S. Villanueva)

MANILA – As the maritime industry shifts towards decarbonization and digitalization, officials of a leading maritime recruitment and fleet management firm said government policies that would further improve Filipino seafarers' skills are “very much welcome.”

In a briefing on Thursday, Wilhelmsen Ship Management vice president for marine personnel Anette Bjerke Hoey said they have increased the number of Filipino seafarers in their team, citing the availability of supply and their skills.

Hoey said they have about 5,000 Filipino personnel from a pool of 10,000 seafarers.

She said about 40 percent of the Filipino seafarers in their company are officer ranks, and about 2 percent of them are female.

The company has a cadet program, which allowed the entry of more Filipino seafarers by 194 percent in the past five years.

The Philippines is among the countries in the world that have a large supply of skilled seafarers and Hoey said Wilhelmsen has been relying on this supply for the past 43 years.

With the innovations and shifts in the maritime industry, such as towards decarbonization, she said, “We are determined to equip our local recruits with technical and soft skills competence that is required to operate future ships safely and efficiently.”

Asked about any particular focus for government policy reforms for seafarers, Hoey said they have not faced any negative experience among their Filipino crews.

She said the company is “very much concerned about the changes in the decarbonization and the future ships that are coming in.”

She added that the ongoing changes in the industry and the need to upskill their crew is a must, thus the continuing program to further improve their personnel’s technical skills.

“On our end when it comes to (the) competence of the crew, we are very much focused on getting their technical skills up. Of course, any policy that the government gives will be (an) additional welcome for us to increase the skills of our crew,” Hoey told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

She said career progression is among the primary focus of the company when it comes to their crew, citing progress in “developing our Filipino officers to gain experience in highly complex vessel segments like LPG, (liquified petroleum gas), LNG (liquified natural gas), and cruise.”

Vessels called LPG or LNG tankers are carrier ships that are specifically designed to transport natural gas.

“This added vessel segment experience adds significant value in their career growth ahead,” Hoey added. (PNA)



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