A manpower shortage could be on the cards for offshore operations in the near future, according to Global Radiance Group chairman and managing director Abdul Lateef Siddiqui
“There will be a big vacuum, because now most of the offshore crew have gone,” he said.
As a result of shortages, a higher intake of crew will be required and promotions without adequate hands-on experience may take place faster. This could lead to less experienced crew members in positions of authority, raising the possibility of breakdowns, incidents, accidents, off-hire and insurance claims.
“Unfortunately, our industry is reactive not proactive, and who pays? The shipowner.”
Global Radiance Group provides services including ship management, project management, offshore management and manpower management. Mr Siddiqui, who joined in 2015 bringing 35 years of direct experience in the shipping industry, spoke to Singapore Solutions about the company’s activities and plans for future growth.
“The main principle in our organisation that the owner’s money is our money,” he said, explaining the Group’s business ethos. “We treat the owner like a partner, [because] if the owner grows, we grow, and if the owner is happy we are happy.”
The company currently manages a range of vessels, Mr Siddiqui explained, noting that these include three livestock carriers, six chemical tankers and one floating storage and offloading unit. He added that Global Radiance holds documents of compliance and has personnel competent in managing vessels including oil tankers, chemical tankers, gas carriers, offshore support vessels, floating production, storage and offloading units, container ships, bulk carriers, roros and general cargo vessels.
And the company’s managed fleet looks set to grow. “In ship management the fleet size definitely will increase,” said Mr Siddiqui.
Global Radiance is currently in discussions to take on two more livestock carriers for an existing client, and further carriers for other clients. The company is also looking at taking on two more chemical tankers and three MR tanker newbuilds.
“We have moved to double digits with the start of 2019,” Mr Siddiqui added, noting that even during the recent downturn the company was able to grow from managing one vessel to 10. The company has also expanded globally, having in recent months launched joint ventures with local partners in Bangladesh and Qatar and opened an office in the UAE.
“We don’t want to rush, but we do want controlled growth while making sure we do not over-commit to our clients,” he said. “Whatever we promise, we should meet or exceed their expectations.”
“One thing which really makes me feel confident and proud of my team ashore, sea staff on board and this company, is the confidence of my clients.”
Mr Siddiqui has his own ideas about how to handle crew retention, noting “I have a very good team [with] very good retention, both the sea staff and the shore staff.”
At least one of the reasons for this is quite straightforward: “I hire the best cook.”
He explained that he tells his crew managers that when selecting crew they shouldn’t take the easiest way, but instead ensure that once a good crew member, such as a cook, is taken onto the company’s books, they do not change up.
Quality is more important than cheapness when providing for the crew’s catering needs, he added, saying “For me the important thing is that if the crew are fed properly, they are working hard.”
The company’s ethos is that “A loyal, stable and skilled workforce contributes to cost-effectiveness and operational efficiency holistically.”
And this focus of placing a high priority on crew retention seems to pay dividends, with Global Radiance employing more than 300 seagoing officers and crew with a wide range of skillsets, as well as 50 shore staff.
The company also places a high emphasis on using technology efficiently, with a fully electronic ship management system, including document archiving, and a fully computerised approach to crew management to ensure crew and officers have the required skills, training and certification for a given vessel type.