All roads lead to Manila this November — CrewConnect Global Conference, the world’s largest and most influential meet for the Marine HR community. Some 600 international participants come to digest views of 80 expert speakers.

Bonus for this year is the CrewConnect Summit, a one-day conference on challenges in the cruise industry.

Whatever the industry, the challenges for HR professionals remain the same: how to attract the best talent, how to provide training which adds genuine value, and how to ensure high levels of staff retention.

The BIMCO/ICS Manpower Report predicts a deficit of 147,500 officers by 2025. The Ocean Policy Research Foundation Report also predicts a shortfall of 364,000 seafarers by 2050. These reports mean the maritime industry needs to improve performance to avert a manpower crisis.

At the CrewConnect Global conference, marine HR sector leading experts will assess the current state of the industry and its readiness to meet demands of the future.    

Some may feel the manpower crisis are a long way, may not even become a reality. For one, maritime industry is currently experiencing a surplus. Discussions of the maritime industry future very often focus on automation, the role it will play in reducing crew numbers.

But the practicability of autonomous vessels is still very much subject to debate, as is the timeframe over which to expect introduction industry-wide. Only one thing is absolutely certain: demand for container transportation will increase, and – at least in the short term – demand for crew members.

There are reasons to be optimistic about the crewing industry ability to meet this rising demand. Recent decades have seen a shift in crew supply away from the traditional maritime nations of Europe, Japan and North America, and towards emerging economies like China, the Philippines and Indonesia.

What make these countries such promising prospects are not only their large populations and growing commercial clout, but the room for improvement in the way their human resources are being utilised. Multicultural and multilingual crew on vessels are now the status quo.

But poor communication aboard these ships means that crew retention is often lower. Increased cultural awareness on the part of shipowners, recruiters and operators will help boost retention from emerging maritime nations, also making the maritime industry a more attractive sell for recruiters.

Another promising opportunity for crewing professionals comes in improving Internet connectivity for vessels at sea. Extended periods of separation from friends and loved ones have long been a source of dissatisfaction for seafarers. This, with long hours and irregular sleeping patterns, makes poor mental health a genuine concern for crew safety and retention.

At present, only 6% of seafarers have sufficiently fast Internet connections to make video calls to their families. But connectivity is rising with continued investment of shipping companies in their digital infrastructure. This may lift one of the main barriers to an effective crewing strategy. But it will have to be matched by enhancements in cyber security to assuage fears of greater vulnerability to online threats.

Eighty subject matter experts (SMEs) shall discuss these issues and many others. Expected are detailed case studies, engaging industry response panels, inspiring keynote addresses. And more, including the impact of digital disruption, managing crew claims, crew retention & advancement, cyber security and safety at sea.

Speakers for CrewConnect Global include:

  • John Adams, Managing Director-Teekay Shipping; Chairman-Bahamas Shipowners’ Association
  • Iris Baguilat, President of Döhle Seafront Crewing
  • Alex Verchez, President and Managing Director-Teekay Shipping Philippines
  • Kate Adamson, CEO of Futurenautics
  • John Gahnstrom, Senior Marine Manager-INTERTANKO
  • Gerardo Borromeo, Vice President-Philippines Shipowners Association

So much await the professional in Manila this November to upgrade knowledge and compete better. Take a chunk, find out more at