Evgeny Y. Pafnutyev
Crewing agency “Fescontract-International”, Vladivostok

Natalia G. Levchenko
Admiral Nevelskoy Maritime State University, Vladivostok

Yana V. Pafnutyeva
Admiral Nevelskoy Maritime State University, Vladivostok

Roman A. Belogor
Admiral Nevelskoy Maritime State University, Vladivostok

Dmitriy E. Garmyshev
Admiral Nevelskoy Maritime State University, Vladivostok

Abstract: The article is devoted to topical issues of the demand for the maritime profession, the specifics of training, crewing and labor conditions of seafarers. The established system of training, employment and work onboard has found itself in a difficult position as the operations of the maritime industry around the world have been hugely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The article highlights and describes the characteristic features of seafarers’ training and crewing, organization of the activities of institutions working with seafarers, reorganization of training facilities, working hours of consulates, crew change procedures associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Particular attention is paid to generalizing the practical experience of one of the largest crewing agencies in Russia. An attempt is made to reveal the main reasons for the global changes in maritime transport industry in the context of the transformation of HR activities and the response of the maritime vacancy market to challenges and situational changes.

Keywords: maritime employment market, employment, crewing, seafarer training, maritime education, certificate, visa, ship’s crew, pandemic, COVID-19


Sea traffic is a convenient and economical mode of transport in comparison with road and air. Maritime transportation is one of

the most demanded in the world, including Russia, because carriage of goods by sea is a fast and affordable way of transportation. In this regard, personnel capacity is very important, which is an extremely multifaceted factor in maritime transport and is subject to various fluctuations.

The demand for maritime professions in different regions of the country and the conditions for the employment of specialists have peculiarities both on the part of the seafarers themselves and on the part of shipping companies and crewing agencies.

The process of seafarers training, whose competency level directly affects the ship safety [1], continues throughout the sailor’s career and allows to constantly improve the quality of the maritime personnel.

However, over the past year and a half, well-established structures for crewing, training and crew work onboard the ships have been in a difficult situation, as the functioning of the maritime industry around the world has been hugely impacted by the COVID- 19 pandemic.

The article analyzes the demanded maritime professions in different regions of Russia and examines the special working conditions of seafarers during a pandemic.

Training and education of seafarers

In the modern world, maritime professions have a fairly high priority in the labor market. It is extremely important to raise competent specialists, using all the possibilities of modern educational technologies and practical experience for this, starting with the optimization of basic training processes, various training courses for seafarers, including training on high-tech simulators [2].

In this process, it is important not only to teach how to use the sophisticated equipment, but also to improve the quality of the practical skills of seafarers, which are of undeniable value in the maritime professions. For example, it is very positive for a career as a mechanic or deck crewmember to be able to weld with a certificate after training.

Against the background of all of the above, it is important to know where future employees in the maritime industry after graduating from the basic educational course with a set of practical

skills and theoretical knowledge will be able to get a job. It is advisable to assess what working conditions current employers can provide, and in which region of Russia they are the best today.

To begin with, it is necessary to consider the process of training seafarers and understand what important competencies the graduates have at the exit from the educational institution, and what, accordingly, employers may require from them in the first place.

Experience shows that a successful career in the maritime industry begins at the educational institution. Many world companies implement cadet programs, practicing the conclusion of contracts with maritime universities and academies and, starting from the first courses, contribute to the progress of the future seafarers and instill in their minds the thesis of what it means to be a Company Employee (organization man). Admiral Nevelskoy Maritime State University is no exception, supporting the cadet programs of such large companies as “Sovcomflot”, “Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd” (MOL).

Speaking about the basic training of a seaman, in addition to using standard programs, one can separately highlight the language [3], [4], legal [5] – [7], international [3] training of cadets [8], the organization of onboard practices [9], [10], preparation for work in global multinational companies [8], training in solving problems and conflicts at sea [11], [12], discussion of social problems [11], [13], study and application of new technologies [2], [14] using them both for training process itself [2] and for teaching the use of sophisticated equipment of modern ships with a high level of automation of all processes.

Much attention is paid to safety issues [1], [15], [16], including environmental, sanitary and hygienic [17] as well as to information security. To do this, you need to organize an optimal approach to learning, using the most effective methods and technologies for this process [8], [11], [18] – [21].

When organizing the process of seafarers training in an educational institution in all of the above areas, it is worth paying attention to the problems of training process itself [22], [23]. One of the most common problems in training is the increase in the number of semi-autonomous and autonomous systems on ships, in connection with which the employers’ requirements for the knowledge and skills of their personnel are constantly changing.

This means that curricula and programs must timely change and be flexible. The constant development of technologies also influences the emergence of problems of applying the competence-based approach in the training of seafarers [24]. Ultimately, all the features of the development of the maritime industry and the training of seafarers in educational institutions should focus on the main goal – to ensure maximum safety on ships for the crew and cargo.


The selection of candidates for the maritime industry is a separate professional category [25] – [27], therefore, it is important to consider the process of direct employment of seafarers and the problems [28] – [31] that may arise from this.

You can define a ship-owner’s list of elementary requirements to the applicant, both in the case of direct recruitment or through crewing agencies:

– Basic knowledge of the specialty;

– Availability of a complete package of seafarers documents for work on a specific type of vessel in a specific position;

– Seafarer’s experience of working on a certain type of vessel in a certain position (including deadweight criteria for navigators and the type and power of the main engine for ship mechanics);

– Fluency in English.

Hence, we can conclude that the knowledge gained during the training of seafarers fully covers the list of the most elementary requirements from employers.

The modern tendencies in merchant shipping often urge the majority of companies involved in the transportation of goods to register their ships under the so-called “flag of convenience” [FOC, 32]. Commercialization helps to simplify the registration of ships, reduces the requirements for ship operations and allows to reduce the tax burden by minimizing the amount of income taxes.

Such manipulations require the ship’s crew to draw up documents corresponding to the FOC, which is not always convenient, and in some cases even impossible, if we consider the seafarers whose place of permanent residence is Crimea [28], [33].

One more nuance of the employment of seafarers can be identified – high competition among seafarers themselves when

submitting resumes to large companies with high wages. Not every university graduate has the opportunity to find a job after graduation to a company with a stable image, because more often than not, work experience is required. In this regard, it happens that a graduate is forced to go on one voyage as a cadet. It also happens that the personal connections of seafarers also affect employment, because reputable Russian and foreign companies support the professional dynasties. In Russian companies, personal connections sometimes make it easier to get a job and make your way to better jobs.

Hence, we can conclude that, despite the fact that maritime universities provide the necessary practical and theoretical skills, a well-functioning system of personal contacts and unforeseen circumstances that may arise during the preparation of a package of documents play a significant role in the employment of seafarers.

Analysis of Russian crewing market basing on the HH.RU data

Moving on to the analysis of the direct maritime employment market, we will consider the list of offered vacancies in different regions of Russia.

The research by the Institute of Socio-Economic Problems of Population of the Russian Academy of Sciences revealed that the most effective ways to search for vacancies for young people are specialized Internet sites [34]. Therefore, we used in a study the data provided by HeadHunter ( – the largest online recruiting platform in Russia, whose clients are almost 1.4 million companies.

The analysts published the first regional ranking of Russian universities in terms of graduate employment success, which was by based on 3.9 million resumes of Russian applicants – university graduates who were looking for jobs in 2020 – first half of 2021. They studied more than 300 Russian educational institutions, the number of graduates of these universities in different years, the proportion and number of managers and senior management representatives from the total number of applicants with a diploma from the relevant university. Five of the country’s top 100 regional universities represented Vladivostok, and the Admiral Nevelskoy

Maritime State University occupied the 27th place in the rating (

There are many different maritime professions, within the framework of this work, for example, we can limit ourselves to one of them and search the site using an API request. The query “captain + navigator” displayed only about 10 vacancies in the cities of St. Petersburg, Vladivostok, Astrakhan, as well as in the Kaliningrad and Murmansk regions. This suggests that maritime professionals hardly ever use the online recruiting platform.

Challenges for seafarers influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic in January 2020 to the present, the world is undergoing global changes in all spheres of life. The maritime industry has also been subject to a forced breakdown and transformation.

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