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Mobility and Transport


Having competent staff is not only important for upholding maritime safety and safeguarding the marine environment, but it is also essential for supporting the growth and prosperity of the maritime industry in Europe. The European maritime industry suffers from an increasing lack of European seafarers, in particular officers. Such a shortage is likely to increase in the coming years to the detriment of the maritime industry, which needs maritime expertise and experience. The main objective of the European maritime policy is to prevent abusive practices on board ships calling at EU ports, improve employment and working conditions for seafarers on board EU-flagged ships, make the maritime profession more attractive and ensure compliance with established training standards.

Social Agenda for Maritime Transport

The Commission strives to:

  • create/safeguard an adequate maritime labour force for the European shipping and maritime clusters;
  • create/foster employment of European seafarers by making the shipping sector more attractive, particularly for young people;
  • safeguard the European maritime know-how;
  • promote maritime safety and security and the protection of the environment.

In order to achieve these objectives, the Commission:

  • promotes the attractiveness of maritime professions by providing funding for relevant projects and studies (see useful links below). This continuous effort is important not only for tackling the issue of workforce shortages in the shipping industry, but also for the so-called EU 'blue economy' growth;
  • aligns the EU legislation with the latest updates to the International Maritime Organisation Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW ) and ensures its proper application, including by third countries;
  • enhances seafarers' employment conditions whilst preserving the competitiveness of the European fleet by monitoring the implementation and correct application of the EU enforcement instruments regarding the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Maritime Labour Convention (MLC-2006 ), including approved amendments to the Convention.

Studies - Useful links

Employment and working conditions of seafarers

Education and training of seafarers

Project: HORIZON

Project: KNOW-ME

Go Maritime – The European Maritime Career Portal.

Project: "Vasco Da Gama - Training for Greener and Safer Maritime Transport"

Study on EU seafarers employment - final report