From the Editor: Seafarer Pay

These are very interesting times we’re living in.

In another sign that COVID has turned the world upside down, there are now reports that some of the lowest-paying jobs in the maritime industry are suddenly becoming some of the better compensated jobs in the maritime industry.

“Several of the world’s largest shipping lines, worried they will be unable to recruit and retain workers, have begun offering unprecedented incentives for a job known for notoriously bad working conditions and low pay,” according to a story by tech reporter Nicolas Rivero, published Jan. 25 on the global business news and insights website Quartz.

“To dissuade seafarers from leaving their jobs, global shipping lines are doling out massive bonuses that will effectively triple or quadruple some workers’ salaries for the year in hopes of retaining workers to staff many of the ships they’ve bought or ordered during the pandemic,” the article states.

Rivero goes into detail about how since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, working conditions for seafarers have progressively gotten worse.

“(D)uring the pandemic, seafarers who do everything from equipment maintenance to navigation have struggled to get access to vaccines and have been barred from disembarking at many of the world’s ports. As a result, some workers have spent more than a year at sea without a reprieve,” he wrote.

This, obviously and predictably, has led to a sharp drop in job satisfaction among seafarers.

And in response to the problem, shipping lines across the world – from CMA CGM in France to HHM in South Korea, to multiple corporations across Asia – have begun offering workers and potential workers huge one-time bonuses to work for them, with the incentives paid for by record-breaking profits received due to the massive increase in goods shipping across the world, specifically to the West Coast of North America, caused by the pandemic.

One example cited in the article is Taiwanese shipping line Wan Hai, which raised its annual bonuses to total a full year’s wages plus $36,079 USD.

The full Quartz article is an interesting, highly recommended read. It can be seen here:

Managing Editor Mark Nero can be reached at

By Mark Edward Nero