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Is Digital Disruption in the Maritime Industry Changing Seafarer Jobs?

Is Digital Disruption in the Maritime Industry Changing Seafarer Jobs?

Sam Hamilton

It's no secret that a digital transformation is taking place in the maritime industry - but how is it changing seafarer jobs? Are seamen now required to be more technical? And will the development of smart ships lead to fewer jobs being available and a reduced number of mariners being needed to man vessels?

Are seafarer jobs changing due to digital disruption?

Anyone wanting to know the answer to these questions should also take a look at a study which was published last year, called Seafarers and Digital Disruption. Written by Professor Dr. Dirk Max Johns, a professor in the Maritime and Logistics Department at the  Hamburg School of Business Administration, the report offers the point of view that new technologies should be approached as a seamless transformation process, rather than a disruptive one.

One key finding of the study, and something that should enable seamen and their families to breathe a sigh of relief, was that there shouldn't be any need to worry about the loss of jobs.
pink neon sign saying Breathe on a backdrop of ivy

In fact, the opposite could be true and this could even be a golden opportunity for shipping companies in the maritime industry to embrace technology and create new jobs for seamen with specialist (i.e. more technical) skills. Professor Johns' study also discusses the legal ramifications and requirements that will need to be considered with regards to seafarers when building and launching autonomous ships.

Is a seafarer's job description being redefined?

Taking into account the findings of the report, one of the objectives is to discuss the way a seafarer is defined. Specifically: does the digitization of the maritime industry have repercussions in terms of the definition of the role. Will seamen need to re-train to gain new skills such as computer programming or coding? From Professor Max Johns' study:

"If companies with a legacy of seafarers in well-established roles consider a disruptive approach, they will have to redefine roles, communicate, train and re-train their employees. They will also have to carefully compare the commercial viability of technically disruptive projects."

wooden and glass shop or cafe front with the words Work in Progress painted on the door's glass

Martide's point of view on technology in the maritime industry

As a maritime recruitment company, Martide embraces the use of technology to make life easier. We developed our Software as a Service to help small to medium sized shipowners and ship managers fill their vacant seafarer jobs more quickly and easily.

Like Professor Max Johns, we believe that tools that enable digital transformation within the maritime industry should not be seen as a threat, but as devices that can support processes, systems and even vessels in order to increase efficiency and cost effectiveness.

“A strong digital foundation across the organization... to attract the right digital talent in shipping to help keep the business growing and running more efficiently”
wind generators at sea as dusk falls

How Martide can help your shipping company streamline and grow

Martide's integrated software solution has been designed and created for shipping companies who want to reduce their time to hire while still being assured that they are hiring qualified and experienced seamen. Our platform works seamlessly with all known existing crew and recruitment systems and is secure and scalable.

Think of it as an Applicant Tracking System - and more. It boasts time saving features such as filtering to ensure you only see the seafarers in our database who match your requirements. You can manage interviews and negotiations through the software, and easily stay in touch with candidates and manning agents thanks to the messaging function.

Want to know more about how we can help you fill your empty jobs at sea in plenty of time for your crew change over dates? Get in touch with us to schedule your no-obligation demo now.