WILHELMSEN Ship Management is targeting to increase its pool of Filipino seafarers by 60% from the current figures in the next five years, a company official said in a briefing on Thursday.

“In terms of figures, we have a target to increase it by 60% in the next five years, today we’re having almost 50% of Filipino seafarers,” Wilhelmsen Vice-President for Marine Personnel Anette Bjerke Hoey told BusinessWorld in an interview.

To date, Ms. Hoey said that the pool of seafarers stood at 10,800. Filipinos account for almost half of the figure.

“The Philippines remains one of the world’s largest suppliers of seafarers. For years, the country has been a major recruitment pool of highly skilled seafarers for Wilhelmsen. In fact, almost 50% of our crew today are Filipinos,” she added.

Esther Gan, vice-president for marketing and communication, declined to give specific budget figures earmarked for the planned expansion and increase in the recruitment of Filipino seafarers.

She said, “this is an important market, this number changes, we always tweak it for the exact amount earmarked for this.”

Ms. Hoey said that Wilhelmsen is also planning to grow its fleet size by 60% by 2027, through organic partnership and acquisition.

Currently, Wilhelmsen handles 250 ships in technical management and 212 ships in crew management, she said. The ships include gas tankers, oil tankers, bulker, container, offshore, cruise, and car carriers.

Meanwhile, Ms. Hoey said that Wilhelmsen is also targeting to follow “current” maritime industry trends on decarbonization and digitalization. She said the company is planning to shift gears toward low or zero emissions in fuel.

“The International Maritime Organization has decided to reduce greenhouse gas emissions with a goal of reducing emissions by 50% in 2050. In line with this ambition, the shipping industry will soon transition its fleet toward low-emission fuel,” she added. — Ashley Erika O. Jose