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Friday Fun Fact #11: The Philippines produces the most seafarers

Updated on 27 Dec 2023
2 min read
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Happy 2017, everyone! Welcome to our first Friday Fun Fact of the year. This will, unfortunately, also the last of our series of curious shipping fun facts. But fret not! Keep an eye on this blog since we’ll definitely have more ocean freight stories to come!

Last year, we told you about the high costs of ship construction, container inspection statistics and the immense power of a ship container’s engine. This time, we’ll introduce to you the underdogs of the shipping industry - the seafarers!

The world’s seafarers

According to the International Chamber of Shipping, there are over 1.6 million seafarers currently working on merchant ships. The term ‘seafarer’ includes officers and ratings. Officers hold licenses and can hold senior positions, whereas ratings are mariners without a certificate of competence and assist in other tasks.

These are the countries that produce the most ratings:

  1. The Philippines

  2. China

  3. Indonesia

  4. Russia

  5. Ukraine

And here are the countries that supply the most officers:

  1. China

  2. The Philippines

  3. India

  4. Indonesia

  5. Russia

The Philippines has been the world’s main supplier of seamen since 1987. According to the country’s Department of Labor, there are nearly 230,000 Filipino seamen on board merchant shipping vessels at any given time!

Industry’s current supply of seafarers

Currently, the industry requires some 1.5 million seafarers: 790,500 officers and 754,500 ratings. But this demand is expected to grow, along with the increase in the world merchant fleet over the next decade. Experts say this is likely to cause a shortage in the supply of officers, despite increased recruitment and training over the past five years.

Further reports state that issues of manpower should be addressed to improve and enhance maritime education for seafarers in order to retain them.

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