Seeking a way to reach out to Ukrainian seafarers, international shipping companies CSM and Peter Dohle have joined hands. On June 12 the partners celebrated the opening of their new office in Odessa.

According to Peter Dohle, its newlywed-partner Columbia has big experience at crewing management operations, thus with their help Peter Dohle is now going to boost the numbers of Ukrainian seafarers. Peter Dohle operates a fleet that includes large container vessels, bulk carriers, multi-purpose or heavy lift vessels. The company will also start to benefit from the access to a pool of vessels that were not at its disposal before, like tankers. As for CSM, it will take advantage of Peter Dohle’s big container ships (up to 14,000 TEU).

Columbia Ship Management is one of the world’s leading ship managers and operators. In the newly established joint venture with Peter Dohle CSM will be responsible for the crewing management in Ukraine. CSM actively hires and trains seafarers from Ukraine, while promoting them from cadets to senior officers. According to forecasts Columbia Ukraine will soon join the TOP3 of crewing agencies in Ukraine.

Since 2005 CSM started to hire Ukrainian seafarers whose professional expertise has been repeatedly proved. “We have many Ukrainian seafarers, who have been with us for many years, and actually, they are very good. They are simply the best,” says Andreas Hadjipetrou, CSM Managing Director. “Despite all of the turmoil in the country, we have hardly had accidents onboard. There are no records of Ukrainian seafarers being engaged in politics. Our people have been extremely professional, while carrying the vessel’s flag, and we are thankful for the good behavior they have conducted”.

Peter Dohle appears to have a similar experience. “As I have studied with Ukrainian seafarers and worked with them extensively, I can easily acknowledge a trend in which the quality is going up, while eventually we are going to benefit from this”, Roy Machart, Peter Dohle General Manager, continues the discussion. “This is especially true when we think of the youngest generation seafarers, the highly qualified ones. These are the people we are looking for”.

Companies are also in urgent need of highly qualified officers, as well as good engineers, especially those who have experience with electronic engines.

Peter Dohle and CSM heavily invest in cadet training programs. According to CSM Crewing Director Norman Schmiedl, the theoretical education of seafarers is good worldwide, but many cadets miss practical skills. “Young seafarers are equipped with theoretical knowledge, which they have received at a University or an academy,” explains the expert. “The lucky ones join an established company, receive a decent training and will, due time, be able to do any job they desire. Others might graduate from a good University but sign up at a company that does not invest a dime in their training. This makes that things will become pretty soon difficult for them.”

Mr Schmiedl urges companies to come forward with new educational and training initiatives. But even though many companies do invest in education and training of seafarers, there is no coordinated approach within the industry. The expert explains that seafaring is one of the few occupations where people can start without connections: “After the university one embarks, makes rapidly career and becomes an officer, then one can move further up the ranks and start to earn $12, $14 or even $15,000 a month, while only working for six or seven months per year, working at sea. That’s the moment when someone gets the chance to enjoy life”.

“We strongly stimulate Ukrainians who are interested in shipping to come to us,” concludes Andreas Hadjipetrou. “Mainly here are men, however we also encourage women to sign up. Up-to-date we have employed female captains as well, something not remarkable at all, considering the fact that employment onboard secures a good income, while having the chance to see the rest of the world”.

– Kate Kochetkova

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