By Ryan Skinner (email)
The President of Travelers' Ocean Marine Division Richard DeSimone sounds the kind of alarm one might expect a marine insurance group to sound. I quote: If something isn't done about seafarer recruiting, and that quick, we in the insurance business are going to be neck deep in pooh, soon. OK, I rephrased a little.
He's got reason to be scared pantless. Marine insurers are walking along a tightrope as they try to remain commercially competitive (read: cheap, in a very transparent market) while the people with ultimate control over their fates (seafarers) are getting increasingly scarce. If I were liable for damages to a ship up to some hundreds of millions of dollars, I'd want the pick of the litter running the boat. Shipping's not attracting the pick of the litter.