New network for seafarers launched
Three Glasgow, UK based Maritime Professionals, Chris McMenemy, Stuart McKenna and Captain Fraser Matthew, have launched PROPEL – The Seafarer’s Professional Network (www.propel.space); the first and only professional network built uniquely for the world’s seafaring community.
The platform aims to help improve the careers of seafarers around the world – offering a ground-breaking combination of social networking, career tracking, recruitment & unique digital maritime training, all in one place. Crucially, the platform offers the industry a single “digital home” for seafarers, helping them navigate and develop their careers free of discrimination or exploitation – a problem that is still rife in the industry.
With the impact of COVID-19 on shipping likely to continue for many months to come, the launch of PROPEL has come at an important time for the maritime profession – particularly with many seafarers currently facing a variety of hardships ranging from being trapped on board ships to worrying about the health of their loved ones back at home.
Chris McMenemy, Co-founder and acting CEO noted, “The launch of PROPEL signals a paradigm shift for the seafaring community – we’ve not only created the ultimate seafarer’s career development platform, we’ve simultaneously created parity for seafarers across the globe too. Regardless of which country they come from, seafarers can use PROPEL to find their next job, undertake training and proudly create the career of their dreams.”
Since launching PROPEL in May, seafarers from around the globe have already been signing up by their thousands each day – initially catching the founders off guard: “We had originally planned to launch PROPEL to UK based seafarers as a market test, however due to word of mouth we were suddenly inundated with sign ups from the main seafarer nations - as far afield as Ukraine, India and the Philippines. PROPEL definitely seems to of struck a chord with the industry!” McMenemy added.
With difficult times on the horizon for the maritime industry, McMenemy hopes that the emergence of PROPEL will help both seafarers and ship owners / managers alike. “We are currently in a strange environment where despite there being a well document shortage of seafarers, there are thousands of seafarers struggling to find jobs due to COVID-19. PROPEL will bridge that gap – enabling shipping companies to find and select the best crew, and enabling seafarers currently looking for work to upskill and apply directly to companies – a win-win for the industry.”
The next steps for the PROPEL team will be to seek investment to allow for further developments to their platform, further expand their growing user base through marketing and advertisement and employ key staff.
The worldwide population of seafarers serving on internationally trading merchant ships is estimated at 1,647,500 seafarers. The forecast growth in the world merchant fleet over the next ten years, and its anticipated demand for seafarers, will likely continue the trend of an overall shortage in the supply of officers. According to the International Chamber of Shipping, the industry and relevant stakeholders should not expect there to be an abundant supply of qualified and competent seafarers without concerted efforts and measures to address key manpower issues, through promotion of careers at sea, enhancement of maritime education and training worldwide, addressing the retention of seafarers.