testata inforMARE

10 August 2022 The on-line newspaper devoted to the world of transports 20:28 GMT+2

July 13, 2022

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Confitarma calls for urgent decisions to deal with the shortage of Italian seafarers

Among the proposals, to finance the necessary basic training courses to embark young people on board ships and allow temporarily the embarkation of quotas of non-EU seafarers on cabotage trades

It is to be hoped that the economic resources provided for in the National Recovery and Resilience Plan can be put to disposition of the Higher Technical Institutes of the Sea in times quickly and effectively. Giacomo highlighted it Gavarone, president of the technical group "Human Resources and Industrial Relations" by Confitarma, and Salvatore d'Amico, President of the Technical Group "Education and Human Capital" and the Young Shipowners Group of Confitarma, as part of the observations and proposals of the shipowners' confederation Italian to cope with the shortage of Italian seafarers, who in particular creates serious difficulties especially for services cabotage and for the operation of ferry ships.

Specifying first that the gap between supply and demand of seafarers is a structural phenomenon of character world long denounced by important associations international such as BIMCO, d'Amico noted that "for facing this problem the Italian armament has long been investing heavily in the training of workers Maritime. I remember - added d'Amico - that the various ITS of the Sea they are an excellence in the national training scene because, after the achievement of the diploma, allow employability rates close to 100%. For this reason, the activity of ITS should be greatly expanded and, to this end, the hope is that the important economic resources provided for in the PNRR can be put available to ITS quickly and in a way effective for the realization of new courses, in particular, those to obtain the certification of engineer officer, for the which there is a clear lack of vocation on the part of the new generations».

Gavarone specified that, "compared to the past, thank you to the union agreement for the boarding of students in 2020, is significantly increased the number of officer students on board on ships of Italian flag: every day on board ships armed by the companies associated with Confitarma - explained Gavarone - on average, two official students are on board. On the occasion of the next contract renewal Confitarma will not subtract discussion with the trade unions on this matter the increase in the allowance granted to that person, it being understood that the student, during the period in which he is on board, carries out training and training activities.'

"It is good to know - continued Gavarone - that of the more than 1,100 seafarers from which shipping companies suffer from the shortage about 1,000 are not official, but seafarers qualified to machine, mechanical workers, motorists, brass, electricians, sailors, up to a very substantial share (over 500) of room staff (waiters, apprentices and room children) and kitchen (crew cooks and kitchen children). Such a situation - has clarified Gavarone - is determined by multiple factors, a depending on the number of professional figures: for example, the lack of specialized machine qualifications or that of the crew cook is clearly due to access requirements to the above figures now totally outdated and the lack of specific courses of training that do not allow, therefore, the normal replacement generational of maritime workers who, over time, go into pension. For the other figures, in particular those who carry out edge the so-called room services, the phenomenon that we find of front these days is extremely complex and the factors that are determining it are multiple. Without fear of denial we can say that, on the one hand, the increase in the number of ferries entered into operation in the last few years has determined a greater need on the part of shipping companies to these professional figures, and on the other, the strong restart of the tourism has understandably led many seafarers to choose occupations "on the ground". The combined effect of these two factors is contributing very significantly widening the gap between supply and demand'.

"It would therefore be important - underlined Salvatore d'Amico - remove all current barriers, regulations and operational, at the entry of young people into the labour market maritime. In addition to the coveted reform of the placement of people of the sea (including the updating of the access requirements to the professional figures), young people must be financially supported who want to undertake the careers of the sea by financing at least in part the basic training courses necessary to embark on board of ships, along the lines of what is being done with the "good" driving licence" for road hauliers. All these initiatives, if put in place quickly, they could generate, already within a few months, new Italian maritime occupation".

"To solve this summer's emergency immediately avoiding the detention of ships and the consequent strong inconveniences especially in the connections with the islands - concluded Giacomo Gavarone - there is, however, no other way than to allow temporarily to shipping companies that prove to have unsuccessfully made calls to people's placements of the sea - subject to the authorization of the trade unions - the embarkation of quotas of non-EU seafarers on cabotage trades. Flexibility for a mobile industry such as the maritime industry is an indispensable element to ensure the operation of ships'.

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