Future is bright for marine and oil and gas industries
by Stephanie Barrett
Leaders from the marine transportation sector are delivering a strong message the career opportunities in the industry have never been greater.
That was the conclusion of a news conference held at the Fisheries and Marine Institute Feb. 7.
Representatives from leading marine and oil and gas companies were on-hand to address the current global shortage of marine personnel and highlighted the enormous potential for young people within the industry.
The Marine Institute’s executive director, Glenn Blackwood, felt that the topic was very relevant and timely.
“The growth of the marine transportation industry and oil and gas sector represents an enormous opportunity for young Newfoundlanders and Labradorians,” he said. “A large number of major developments have recently been identified by the province and they will all require a very large number of marine personnel at all levels.”
It is predicted that by the year 2015 there will be a global shortage of 27,000 ships’ officers as aging baby boomers retire and the industry continues to expand.
That’s according to BIMCO, an international shipping association that represents almost two-thirds of the world’s merchant fleet.
One of the key messages flowing from the news conference was that industry, government and marine training institutions need to work together to ensure that the demand for highly qualified personnel is met.
Capt. Sid Hynes, executive chairman of Oceanex and Canship Ugland, agreed that a significant number of ships’ officers will be required.
“We recruit right across Canada but want more Newfoundlanders and Labradorians,” he stated. “The opportunities for young people are right here, right now. We need to get them in here and get them trained. Worldwide demand for ships’ captains, navigators and engineers is growing rapidly. Once trained, they can work anywhere in the world and continue to live here at home in Newfoundland and Labrador.
“They also have the opportunity to work six months of the year and have the other six months off.”
The nautical science and marine engineering programs at the Marine Institute have an international reputation for producing highly skilled graduates in this field. Given that an overwhelming majority of mariners maintain their homes and families in rural communities, their contribution to the province’s economy is significant and ongoing.
“Newfoundland has a seafaring history and culture,” said Capt. Anthony Patterson, director of Virtual Marine Technology. “With the Marine Institute at our doorstep, there is a significant opportunity for Newfoundland and Labrador to continue to produce some of the most talented mariners in the world.”
The overall message of the news conference was quite clear. There are human resource issues that need to be addressed however the future has never looked brighter for anyone wishing to pursue a career in the marine transportation and oil and gas sectors.
“I see endless opportunities for those who wish to take advantage of the challenges that the maritime industry has to offer,” said Capt. Rick Strong, Seamanning Services Ltd. “With the expected expansion in offshore oil and gas activity on the east coast of Canada and the demand for ships’ officers both domestic and worldwide, our youth have a tremendous opportunity, when combined with the training capability of the Marine Institute, to seize careers meeting limitless boundaries. What is most impressive about these opportunities are, they can still live where they want to be; likely their home town.”