Wilhelmsen Ship Management (WSM) CEO Carl Schou has told Safety at Sea that it plans to expand its operations in China, especially where recruitment of Chinese seafarers is concerned.
This is because WSM anticipates more demand for qualified crew to man liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers.
Schou said: “We don’t have any Chinese crew on LNG/LPG [liquefied petroleum gas] carriers at the moment, but we have them on other segments. Due to the good experience we have with the Chinese crew, we hope to transfer our existing strength in gas to build up a pool of Chinese crew in the gas segment.
“Leveraging on our expertise in technical management, crew management, and lay up management, WSM has managed more than 400 ships. Our four main core segments are bulk carriers, pure car and truck carriers, liquefied gas carriers, and cruise ships. We have greater strengths in niche markets such as LNG carriers, cruise ships, and offshore wind energy.”
Schou claimed at a recent press briefing in Shanghai that WSM – which has a presence in 70 countries, employing a staff of over 21,000 people – is now the second-largest third-party ship management company for very large gas carriers (VLGCs), the main workhorses of LPG shipping.
Schou continued: “This year, we mark the 25th anniversary of our entry into the management of liquefied gas carriers. Since 1994, we have been providing professional third-party ship management services for liquefied gas carriers, and have built up a good reputation in the gas shipping industry.”
The International Energy Agency predicts that by 2024, China will be importing over 100 billion cubic metres of LNG, exceeding that of Japan, which is now the largest LNG importing nation.
Schou said: “WSM has 25 years of experience in managing gas ships, with much success in managing LNG and LPG carriers, and our view of the Chinese market in the next 10 years is that the demand for LNG will grow continuously. As one of the recognised ship management companies in the natural gas industry, we are willing to do all we can to support China’s blueprint for developing its natural gas market.”