Norwegian firm plans to hire more Filipino seafarers

Elijah Felice Rosales - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Maritime giant Wilhelmsen Ship Management plans to increase its fleet by 60 percent in the next five years and may require the hiring of additional seafarers, particularly Filipinos.

The Norwegian firm announced yesterday that it hopes to expand its pool of Filipino seafarers to service the new ships as part of its expansion plan.

Wilhelmsen vice president for marine personnel Anette Bjerke Hoey said that close to half of the ship manager’s crew is composed of Filipinos who were either directly hired or internally trained.

“The Philippines remains as one of the world’s largest suppliers of seafarers. And for 43 years, it has been a major recruitment pool of highly skilled seafarers for Wilhelmsen,” Hoey said.

“In fact, almost 50 percent of Wilhelmsen’s crew today are Filipinos. In addition to expanding our pool of seafarers, we are determined to equip our local recruits with the technical and soft skills competence that is required to operate future ships safely and efficiently,” she said.

Wilhelmsen has raised its crew of Filipino seafarers by 15 percent and its intake of Filipinos in its cadet program by 194 percent in the last five years.

From within, Hoey said 40 percent of its manpower are officer ranks, while two percent are female officers, opening up opportunities for Filipinos to climb up the management ladder.

“The progressive growth in the Filipino seafarer pool is driven by the long term plans to maintain the Philippines as one of Wilhelmsen’s major recruitment hubs to meet the needs of expanding fleet in ships management,” Hoey said.

“Career progression is one of the areas that we are focused on. We have made good progress in developing our Filipino officers to gain experience in the highly complex vessel segments like LPG, LNG and cruise,” she said.

Hoey also said that Wilhelmsen would keep on recruiting Filipino seafarers even as it transitions to decarbonization and digitalization.

The Norwegian firm will soon shift to low-emission vessels in compliance with an industry commitment to reduce carbon waste by 50 percent by 2050.

Wilmhemsen employs 10,800 seafarers, of which 48 percent are Filipinos, maintaining eight management centers worldwide, including one in Manila.

It manages at least 250 ships in technical management and 212 ships in crew management with gas tankers, oil tankers, bulk carriers, car carriers and cruise ships in its portfolio.

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