INDUSTRY body Maritime Industry Australia has announced the official launch of the maritime industry’s Seafaring Skills Census.

The 2018 Census received 169 responses, providing an “excellent cross section of the industry”, according to MIAL.

The census shows there are currently more than 5500 Seafarers working at sea and ashore.

But 52% are older than 46 and only 8% are younger than 30, something MIAL described as “alarming”.

The census also forecasts a 560-plus shortage of seafarers in 2023.

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MIAL chief executive Teresa Lloyd said gaining seafaring skills in Australia was difficult given when it depended upon ships being available.

“As everyone with an interest in the maritime industry knows the workforce is aging, the opportunities to train and work in the industry are reducing yet the need for qualified and experienced officers is as great as ever,” Ms Lloyd said.

“The training pipeline has reduced to a trickle. The end users of seafarer skills need to do more.  Ports, regulators, educators, surveyors, the entire maritime community depend on having sufficiently experienced people available to fill key roles and they need to be part of the solution not just part of the problem.”

Ms Lloyd said there was a great opportunity for the industry to better work together to maximise the efficiency of the limited training opportunities that currently existed.

In introducing the census report, Deputy Prime Minister and infrastructure minister Michael McCormack MP said providing this data to the maritime sector was critical for future planning.

Mr McCormack said the census was needed to “identify opportunities for industry sectors and governments to collaborate, foster innovation, encourage investment and develop the systems we need to ensure a steady supply of new mariners to fill critical roles at sea and on land”.

Ms Lloyd said MIAL welcomed such commentary from the Deputy Prime Minister and called on the government to work with industry and support initiatives to ensure skills critical to the national economy were developed and maintained.

MIAL also announced the MIAL Maritime Introduction prize – an opportunity for a young person to sail on the Young Endeavour, attend MIAL training courses and be exposed to a wide range of facets of our sector via a work experience placement with MIAL.

More information is to be provided soon.

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