Study on Latvian Mariners

Assessment of Latvian Mariner Activities, Employment, Work Conditions and Education.

A.Gailis, S.Kocane, J.Miskins, K.Gross, V.Grunte, R.Gailitis

Among those areas, the Commission stresses the need to promote Maritime employment and address current shortages of European seafarers:
"[…] there is a genuine EU interest in emphasizing the attractiveness of the maritime professions to Europeans by means of actions that involve, where appropriate, the Commission, the Member States and the industry itself".
One of the key issues in this context is to strike the right balance between the employment conditions of EU mariners and the competitiveness of the European fleet.
The OECD countries remain an important source of mariners, although Eastern Europe has become increasingly significant with a large increase in officer and rating numbers after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The Latvian Maritime industry has become a supplier of seafarers for EU ship-owners. The age profile of EU seafarers is increasing and young Europeans choose do not undertake employment in the maritime industry.
Therefore, Latvia serves as a good example of how the young people are exposed to the maritime industry by different promotional programs to attract them for education in the maritime sector. Latvia is continuously supplying educated personnel to the shipping sector, and attention needs to be paid to factors that increase the quality, capabilities and performance of mariners while reaching a balance with the work conditions.
Key objectives addressed by the study are:

1.  To develop an understanding of the current state of seafarer recruitment and retention in Latvia. That has become compulsory for those within the maritime industry and includes socio economic factors, attractiveness of the industry, demand of the maritime cluster in Latvia as well as in Europe, working conditions, etc.
2.  To identify the obstacles and incentives to become and remain a seafarer, factors that influence potential mariner's decision to enter the mariner workforce and the decision whether or not to continue working at sea.
3.  To explore the intake and graduates of the Latvian maritime educational centres, the reasons for the downward trend in intake and graduates. Is this due to the lack of resources to support student, poor access to information on recruitment, and the lack of promotion within the mariner profession?
4.  To assess the role of Latvian maritime education and training system – as an important factor in meeting the demands of the maritime industry, and the ambitions of the current and future seafarers.