EMSA Releases Seafarer Statistics In The EU Report

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The European Maritime Safety Agency has released the Seafarer Statistics in the EU report, exploring various statistics and trends regarding seafarers, during 2022. 

Snapshot Of Labour Market 

The review is based on data extracted from certificates and endorsements registered by EU Member States, Iceland, and Norway until 31 December 2022. This data, which was transferred and recorded in the STCW Information System (STCW-IS) by 31 December 2023, represents a snapshot of the European labor market regarding the number of seafarers holding valid certificates and endorsements in 2022. It does not cover only masters and officers actively serving on board ships.

Current certification statistics

The data included in the STCW-IS shows that by end-2022, 171,539 masters and officers held valid certificates of competency (CoC) issued by EU Member States while another 116,990 masters and officers held original CoCs issued by non-EU countries with endorsements issued by EU Member States attesting their recognition (EaR). Overall, the end of 2022 saw almost a third of a million masters and officers as potential manpower to serve on board EU member-flagged vessels.

Top countries issuing certificates

The five EU Member States with the highest number of masters and officers holding CoCs issued by them in 2022 were, by order of magnitude, Poland, Norway, Greece, Croatia, and Romania. The five EU Member States with the most masters and officers holding EaRs issued by them, also by order of magnitude, were Malta, Cyprus, Portugal, Norway, and Denmark. Finally, the five non-EU countries which had more masters and officers holding CoCs recognized by EU Member States were the Philippines, Ukraine, the Russian Federation, India, and Türkiye.

Trends and stability

From the overview for the period 2014-2022, it can be observed that from 2016 until 2019, the absolute number of masters and officers holding CoCs and EaRs and of ratings holding CoPs – and thereby of those available to serve on board EU Member State flagged vessels – had been on the increase.

This trend was interrupted in 2020 due to Brexit and since 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, the overall figures remained broadly stable in terms of distribution by country issuing the original CoC, by masters and officers by department, capacity, gender, and age.

Labor market resilience

In general terms, a certain stability in the European maritime labour market prevails and might suggest a continuing ability of such labour market to attract new entrants who have replaced those leaving the seafaring career. As such, in 2022 and within the EU, there is an indication that over 3,500 officers acquired a CoC as ‘OOW 500 GT or more’ or ‘OEW 750 kW or more’ for the first time.

Department 

The number of masters and officers holding valid CoCs in each department is presented in Figure 2-2. It illustrates that the number of masters and officers entitled to serve in the Deck Department (Chapter II of the STCW Convention) was 46% higher than the number of officers entitled to serve in the Engine Department (Chapter III of the STCW Convention). The officers grouped under ‘Alternative certification’ (Chapter VII of the STCW Convention) were reported as holding a multipurpose capacity.

Gender distribution

The information on gender was available for 159,888 masters and officers, representing 93.21% of the total number of officers at EU level holding a CoC. Considering the total number of masters and officers whose gender was known, it can be stated with a level of confidence of 99% that the percentage of female masters and officers was 2.51% ± 0.08% compared to 97.49% ± 0.08% of male masters and officers.

Age distribution

The average age of masters and officers holding valid CoCs was 43.6 years. Whereas the under-25 age group counted 5,057 masters and officers, all other age groups had a relatively uniform distribution, each counting between 16,403 and 25,026 masters and officers, which represented 10% to 15% of the total number.

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Source: EMSA