The LNG sector is for the first time offering inducements to experienced LNG seafaring officers to come ashore and manage their ships according to international recruitment agency Faststream.
The move comes as the shipping industry seeks personnel to man and manage its growing fleet of LNG carriers, whilst facing stiff competition for staff from the growing floating LNG production sector.
Speaking at the Gastech Exhibition in Korea, Faststream managing director Mark Charman said that 127 new LNG vessels were currently under order each needing officers, ratings and experienced shore-based technical superintendents. These 127 vessels will need an estimated 2000 officers to serve on them.
However, whilst one off payments will help some companies attract experienced staff to manage vessels, Faststream says that the LNG sector needs to change its recruitment strategies if it is to attract sufficient personnel to both crew its ships and manage them ashore.
“Companies need to think about their value proposition to candidates. What is it that your company is offering – is it a short-term post with a high salary, or a longer term package with further opportunities? Seafarers should not be treated as just short term hires, but need to see how they fit within the wider company.”
“Companies need to realise just how in demand LNG experienced engineers are and offer them realistic shoreside packages. They have tax free options at sea, newbuild and project offers open to them. What is going to motivate them to come ashore?”
He added: “Shipping recruiters should be aware that LNG experienced seafarers are already being courted by the upcoming FLNG sector which offers higher pay and short rotations. The increasing interest in LNG as an alternative marine fuel for vessels is also just going to make recruitment even tougher in the years to come.”
The LNG sector is plugging the gap by looking to other areas of the shipping industry for personnel. Increasing numbers of LPG seafarers are transferring to LNG vessels, electrical officers are coming from other vessel types and even from outside the maritime sector and cruise ship engineers with dual fuel experience are finding positions on LNG vessels and ashore.
According to Faststream data, the average salary for an LNG technical superintendent is $113,528, whilst LNG chief engineers command an average annual salary of $121,536.