Poland Looks to Conquer Sailor Shortage

The Czech Defense Ministry is prepared to buy 107 armoured personnel carriers from Austrian firm Steyr Daimler Puch instead of the original 199, the Czech business magazine Euro reported on its web page late last week. The ministry and company, a unit of U.S. defence giant General Dynamics, will sign a memorandum of understanding next week including a new timetable for tests and deliveries of the carriers, it added. The ministry refused to comment on the report, saying that it would release information on negotiations once they have been completed. “We do not comment on ongoing negotiations, only when there is a result,” spokesman Andrej Cirtek told the CTK news agency. The government decided at the end of January to give Steyr a second chance to renegotiate the orignal contract of 798 mln euro ($1.18 bln) for 199 vehicles after canceling it in December. If new talks did not bring results by March 5, a new tender to supply the carriers would be launched, it said. (AFP)

Poland needs sailors. According to Dr. Zbigniew Szozda of the Marine University in Szczecin, there is a need for about 40,000 seamen. Some remedies for the situation have been proposed in the declaration “Partnership for the Sea” signed by the Ministry of Infrastructure. According to initiators of the “Partnership” project, the entire world, including the EU, has a shortage of sailors, especially officers for merchant ships. In Poland today there are about 35,000 seamen. However, the great majority of them are on foreign ships. And more than twice that number of sailors is needed. Each year, the Marine Universities have about 1,000 graduates. None has any problem finding a wellpaid job. “Because of the great development of marine transport, there is a very urgent need for highly qualified workers to service the ships,” Dr. Szozda said.

“The need is especially great for officers.” The declaration “Partnership for the Sea” aims to show young people that a sailor’s life can be a great one. “We should convince young people that being a naval seaman is an attractive occupation with high incomes,” said Szozda, an initiator of the “Partnership” project. The declaration emphasizes that being a sailor compares well with working on land. Marine workers have shorter contracts, high incomes and good social care. “Partnership for the Sea” is the initiative of marine universities, schools, companies and institutions connected with the sea. The campaign is aimed at the media, educational fairs and universities. The declaration was signed Feb. 26 by representatives of the Marine Universities in Szczecin and Gdansk, the Polish Naval Academy in Gdynia, the Polish Chamber of Maritime Commerce and the Pro Nautica Foundation based in Szczecin.

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