Wednesday 12th Dec, 2018

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Australia’s young seafarers need help

Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock


I recently wrote talking about the promises made from the then Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester, one quote was,

“The Government recognises the need to secure critical maritime skills in Australia for all types of seafarer including deck officers. This is why the Government remains committed to maintaining the availability of seafarer training and employment opportunities, both domestically and internationally, and upholding the reputation of Australian seafarers a some of the best trained and qualified in the world”.

I would like to share a story of a young dedicated gentleman that is looking for work as a junior deck officer.

This man did his cadetship with a foreign company earning US570 per month and long periods at sea.

He just spent a year at the Australian Maritime College (no sponsorship) and recently gained his Deck Watchkeepers certificate enabling him to sail as a 3rd officer worldwide.

In the last 2 weeks he has sent his resume to 70 shipping and manning companies and has received very little response.

He is happy to sail on any ship for any length of time just to get to sea and do the job he loves.

Of the 70 companies he has written to include Columbia Ship Management, Toll Shipping, Evergreen Marine, Splietoff, OOCL, Anglo Eastern Group, Wallenius Wilhelmsen, NYK, Hyundai, Pacific International Lines, Mitsui OSK, BP, Stolt, COSCO, K Line, Maesrk, Hamburg Sud, MSC, CMA CGM, CSL, Inco and many more, surely someone that reads the DCN can help this gentleman.

Is the answer the cruise companies? In Sydney this cruise season 350 cruise ships will call into Sydney and many companies call Sydney their home port for 6 months yet they don’t employ any young Australian deck cadets or officers.

New Zealand has quite a few cadets and junior officers on cruise ships.

This one gentleman is not alone. He was lucky to find a shipping company to allow him to do 18 months as a cadet to be able to get his Deck Watchkeepers certificate.

I know 12 ex Australian Maritime College students that are working as kitchen hands, labourers etc hoping to find a cadetship to begin a career at sea.

Unless the government or Shipping Australia step in and help these young Australians we will not have any Australians sailing in any Merchant Navy.

Is this what industry wants?

Captain Michael Kelly







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