Ship operators are placing greater recognition on the role crew members play as the key to reaching higher efficiency goals, according to crew specialist Danica, which is expanding to meet the growing demand for quality crew services.
As part of its expansion plans, the company will shortly open a new office in Riga, Latvia, and more are set to follow. Danica Managing Director Henrik Jensen said: “Shipping companies are beginning to realise that they have 8-10 seafarers on board for every one office employee and that the performance of these crew members is key to reaching the goal of higher efficiency, cost efficiency, safe operations, and delivering a better bottom line for the company.
“Shipping company CEOs are changing their perspective, moving away from seeing seafarers solely as a commodity and instead regarding them as important assets which need to be kept and developed. It’s time now for shipping company management teams to ‘walk the talk’ when it comes to crew matters,” he said.
Highlighting the fact that today’s shipping companies need to meet stringent technical, environmental and commercial requirements while returning a profit, Mr Jensen said this is leading more and more ship operators to outsource their crewing requirements. “Shipping companies are seeking a reliable partner for the manning of their vessels with experience and suitable resources, who understands their strategies and is able to implement them.
“The increasing operational requirements of modern vessels demand more specialised crew,” he said. “In order to attract high calibre individuals, today’s ship owners are looking for crew service providers who can deliver more than a just a cv. They want the total package including proper screening, support and training.”
Mr Jensen attributes Danica’s recent expansion to its focus on delivering services which meet the exacting needs of its owners and also to its careful screening of seafarers to ensure they fully meet the requirements of the roles they will fulfil onboard vessels.
“By using a smaller, boutique crew manager like Danica, shipping companies get access to experts in HR marine management, recruitment power and benefit from economies of scale,” he explained. “We are able to deliver an individually designed crew solution which exactly match the client’s needs – thus supporting them in reaching their business goals. We find our clients prefer this rather than having to fit in with the existing systems of larger firms.”
The smart ships of tomorrow will need smart crews too, he said. “Smart shipping is an evolution and not something that will happen overnight, although it is moving at a fast pace.
“New technologies and new vessel modus operandi will require seafarers to have an additional set of competencies,” he explained. “This will narrow the number of candidates who are able to fulfil the requirements – which makes proper screening and training even more important. This is exactly where Danica is strong. We are in a very good position to assist shipping companies with the manning of their smart ships.”
As well as meeting the high standards required by owners, Danica also ensures it appeals to the seafarers it employs. The company offers a vast number of training courses to enable seafarers to develop their skills and progress up the career ladder. “It is important that among seafarers we are a known as a preferred employer,” explained Mr Jensen. “This we achieve by offering jobs with ‘blue-chip’ ship owners as well being a fair employer and assisting crew members in their career through support such as structured promotion training programs.”
Danica has also seen an increase in the use of its crew management services, having recently taken on four new vessels to complement the more than 30 already under its management.