Fears for cadet career progression as COVID-19 impacts maritime training

View of the ship bridge simulator and projection screen with a simulated shipboard fire at The Maritime Institute of Technology and Graduate Studies. Credit: J.M. Eddins Jr. for The Washington Post via Getty Images

As cadets struggle to get berths at sea during COVID-19, SAS questions the impact it will have on shipping’s talent pool in the future

The rise of the COVID-19 has affected every aspect of seafarers’ lives, whether through the fear of contracting the illness on board, loss of work, the inability to get home, and access to certain elements of training, particularly practical at sea training for cadets.

The impact on training and career progression has not featured so prominently as that on mental health, but it is equally significant. As reported by SAS in August, travel restrictions were keeping cadets at home, unable to join ships to gain their required sea time. Others might be kept for extended periods on board a ship, such as one that is laid up, that may no longer be a suitable training environment for cadets.

Sea time is the biggest casualty: in his July 2020 submission to the UK government, Mike Deegan, head of fleet operations at Noble Caledonia cruise company, stated, “Training has taken a huge hit with providers unable to get cadets to ships for sea time. This, allied to the national shutdown of further education facilities, has left a year’s worth of cadets short of sea time and academic study.”

This is an excerpt of the SAS November edition. To have access to the full article, and more SAS features, please subscribe here.