Maritime careers have been hard hit by Covid-19, with many new recruits made redundant shortly after the pandemic started.
In addition, an estimated 400,000 seafarers were unable to return home during 2020 as a direct result of the pandemic. Many were forced to stay aboard their vessels for more than 11 months, the maximum period seafarers can serve without leave under the Maritime Labour Convention. This was hardly the best advertisement for a maritime career.
However, as bad as the situation has been, there is a view that it hasn’t been quite as dire as initially feared. And government support has thrown the industry a lifeline.
“Business is down overall. It would be bizarre if it wasn’t. But it’s not been the car crash that we feared,” says Phil Parry, co-founder of UK-based shipping recruitment specialists Spinnaker Global.
“When we were staring into the abyss at the end of March 2020, we were very concerned that we would run out of cash within a couple of months. But we, like a lot of our clients, have massively got on top of cash control; and have been massively helped by the CJRS furlough scheme.
“Without that, I think a lot of our clients would have probably either gone under or into loss-making territory.” Nevertheless, the maritime industry is likely to feel long-term repercussions from the pandemic.