The reports highlighting the foreseen lack of merchant marine officers for the expanding world’s fleet calls for a review in evaluating the impact of maritime policy in the seafaring labor market. This paper aims to clarify the particular characteristics of the seafaring labor market and how it can be shaped by specific maritime labor policies. The seafaring labor market in the Philippines, Poland, Germany, and Brazil as well as the general maritime labor policies in these countries is discussed. The focus on these countries leads to a comparative observation of maritime labor as a factor of production in an exporting market, in an importing market, and in a closed market, respectively, as shaped by various relevant maritime policies. Since a global policy that can regulate the maritime labor market does not exist, the trend on maritime labor supply is dynamic on a per country basis wherein crew costs, restrictions on the nationality of employed seafarers, and quality of maritime education and training play significant roles. The paper illustrates how certain aspects of a national maritime policy for the seafaring labor market affects the local market of seafarers. This, in turn, provides hints with regard to certain characteristics of a maritime labor policy of a country that can potentially be self-sufficient in meeting the demand for local seafarers or that can potentially be a future source of seafarers for the world’s merchant fleet. The exploratory investigation in this paper provides starting hypotheses that can be considered in research on maritime labor market for seafarers.
Wmu Journal of Maritime Affairs, 2015, Vol 14, Issue 1, p. 123-139