Seafarer Careers: Insights from EMSA's Latest Report

11 May 2023


In the constantly evolving maritime industry, staying informed is paramount. The recently published EMSA (European Maritime Safety Agency) report provides invaluable insights for seafarers looking to navigate their careers effectively. Liveseas, a professional network that connects seafarers with maritime employers, plays an integral role in this landscape. This article explores key findings from the EMSA report, delving into the opportunities and challenges in the maritime industry, and illustrating how Liveseas helps seafarers capitalise on these opportunities and overcome potential hurdles.

Digesting the EMSA Report

The EMSA report offers a deep dive into the state of the maritime industry, showcasing a wealth of interesting data. For instance, over 3,000 officers for the first time acquired a certificate of competency (CoC) as 'OOW 500 GT or more' or 'OEW 750 kW or more.' This, combined with the fact that the number of EU-issued CoCs for masters and officers has generally been 40% higher than the estimated number of masters and officers serving the European fleet, suggests a robust supply that could hypothetically satisfy the EU fleet's demand.

However, the reality is more nuanced. A considerable number of non-EU CoC holders serve on the EU Member States' fleet, implying that many EU CoC holders could be serving under other flags or working ashore in the maritime industry. The report also indicates a 41% higher number of officers entitled to serve in the Deck Department than in the Engine Department, suggesting an opportunity for more balanced crew roles. While the proportion of female officers globally is expected to increase, it likely won't soon match the 2% already serving on EU Member State flagged vessels.

The top ten nationalities serving on EU vessels have remained largely consistent, with the notable exclusion of the United Kingdom and India since 2020. Finally, the average age of masters and officers has remained stable, with no projected increase in the near future. These insights from the EMSA report provide a valuable backdrop for understanding the opportunities and challenges in the maritime industry and highlight the crucial role that Liveseas can play in supporting seafarers' career trajectories.

Opportunities in the Maritime Industry

As a robust professional network, Liveseas serves as a bridge between these certified officers and potential employers, making the job search process more streamlined and efficient. Liveseas respects the privacy of its members, ensuring that the profiles of already employed seafarers are visible only to the employers they choose. This empowers seafarers to manage their career trajectories effectively, providing them with control over their professional advancements.

The report also highlights a higher number of officers entitled to serve in the Deck Department compared to the Engine Department. This disparity presents an opportunity for newcomers to the industry looking to secure better employability by following the less crowded, yet crucial, career path in the Engine Department. Liveseas aids in this exploration, providing a platform where seafarers can connect with employers looking to fill cadet roles, contributing to a more balanced and dynamic maritime industry.

Navigating your career as a seafarer

As seafarers navigate the opportunities and challenges of the maritime industry, the importance of certifications and continuous learning cannot be overstated. Liveseas recognises this and is developing technologies to help seafarers upskill and stay up-to-date with the rapidly changing requirements of seafaring jobs. As the industry transitions from a hands-on job to a more high-tech setting, Liveseas is there to support and "upskill" seafarers every step of the way. Stay tuned for our updates on e-learning resources and pre-employment preparation.

Future Trends and Liveseas' Role

Looking to the horizon, the maritime industry is poised to face significant changes. The looming seafarer shortage, predicted by many industry experts, could present considerable challenges. As countries supplying the labour to the sector become wealthier, fewer people may opt for a career at sea, exacerbating the shortage. This situation underscores the importance of creating a more equitable marketplace where companies compete for seafarers by offering better benefits, rotations, and salaries, while also helping more people consider a career at sea.

By fostering an efficient market force, Liveseas is empowering seafarers and prompting maritime companies to improve their offers. This, in turn, can lead to improved working conditions and remuneration for seafarers, addressing one of the primary concerns that might deter potential seafarers.


In conclusion, Liveseas serves as an invaluable resource for seafarers navigating the opportunities, challenges, and future trends of the maritime industry. By creating a free profile on Liveseas, seafarers gain access to a robust network of potential employers and a wealth of resources designed to support their career progression. Maritime employers, too, can benefit from applying for an employer account, gaining access to a pool of skilled and certified seafarers ready to contribute to their operations.