A great strength of the merchant fleet has been its standard practice of having its ships managed by seamen – usually experienced shipmasters but often chief engineers and even radio officers. It was a strength that was widely recognised and well established in a number of shipping nations. Curiously, when I wanted to work ashore in 1970, after four years as a shipmaster with commercial qualifications, I could not find such employment in Britain – my own country and my first choice as a place in which to build my future.

The British seemed to think that former shipmasters had no place in ship management only being suitable for work as a superintendent in the technical department – under the firm guidance of a former chief engineer. So I went to Canada where I was welcomed as a ship operator in a business with a time chartered fleet. It was a lucky move for me.
However times change: the supply of former shipmasters of a sufficiently young age to accept the lower rates of pay for working ashore, to be trained in ship management, is drying up. The industry has not been training enough of its own nationals over the last twenty years to man its fleets and fill all those marine management jobs ashore involving marine supervision, ship inspection, pilotage, port management, surveying and the governmental direction of the industry.

Full article, ELNAVI magazine, Issue 449-May 2011, Page. 60

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