A survey by Danica Crewing Specialists has shown big pay rises for seafarers as the employment balance shifts in their favour.

The 2023 questionnaire revealed that senior officers have achieved salary rises of between 10% and 15%, regardless of nationality.

This is measured against results from 2021, as no survey was conducted last year.

Salary figures are particularly strong for the top four ranks on dry cargo vessels, the German company said.

The wage gap is also narrowing between Filipino and Eastern European officers, while Indian senior officers on bulkers are receiving salaries 10% higher than their Eastern European counterparts.

Danica Crewing Specialists chief executive Henrik Jensen said: “We are witnessing a wage spiral like we saw leading up to the previous financial crisis.”

He believes the root cause for the increases is the combination of a general shortage of competent seafarers and a better financial situation for most vessel owners.

“With a surplus of job offers, seafarers can afford to be picky,” Jensen added.

The survey identified bosuns, cooks and fitters as being in high demand, with salaries up 10% as a result.

Ukrainian fitters have had pay increases of up to 30% due to a huge shortage.

Shortage of provisions

But it is not all good news.

A total of 23% of seafarers who responded to the survey said they had experienced a shortage of food or drinking water during their recent voyages, up from 22% in 2021.

Ukrainian seafarers were also asked about their experiences since the war broke out.

A total of 94% said they had fled Ukraine as a result. Of these, 80% left with their families.

But almost 75% said they intend to return home when the war is over and it is safe to do so.