Our seafarers


Maritime-related industries, such as shipping, are complex socio-technical environments, which function within highly variable operational, regulatory, economic, political, social, and international conditions. One of the most critical elements of operating today’s modern and technologically sophisticated ships safely are the seafarers themselves.

The human element and its interaction with machine and technology has become increasingly important as the industry moves towards ever higher standards of safety, environmental impact and technological development.

Our seafarers

Gearbulk’s 1,502 active seafarers are the main contributors to ensure quality transportation for our customers around the world and around the clock. Working at sea requires dedication, risk management and high competence, all of which Gearbulk has acknowledged and continuously allocates resources to improve.

It is well known that human error is the primary cause of shipping casualties (80%). Quite apart from causing unrecoverable expenses, an accident or casualty resulting from poor crew training can lead to non-compliance with the ISM code as well as STCW Convention and to problems with Port State Control (PSC). If individual crew members are not performing to the highest standards, the company’s competitive position may be compromised.

In order to meet our business objectives and provide opportunities for career development of our dedicated seafarers, Gearbulk provides additional training beyond the Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) and Flag state requirements.

The Company also provides a comprehensive Computer based training system (Seagull) which covers a wide range of topics. All seafarers must complete and re-take the relevant modules within a certain time frame to achieve the required assessment score.

Some of the areas in which the Company invests additional resources include:

  • Ship Simulator Bridge and Engine team training combined with Maritime Resource Management
  • Crisis Management course
  • Britannia seminar
  • Ship handling with high lift rudder training
  • ECDIS type specific training
  • MARPOL training
  • Cargo courses
  • Deck and Engine skill enhancement course for ratings
  • MAN e-engine course
  • Electrical training
  • International cuisine course
  • Refrigeration and cargo pumping systems
  • In-house pre-joining briefing
  • Ship Management Course
  • GB Safety Leadership course

Unfortunately, 2020 was a challenging year as the Covid-19 outbreak greatly affected all training and courses planned by the Company.

However, the circumstances forced us all to think differently and find new ways to conduct otherwise “normal” tasks. We had to think outside the box and improvise, which led to some pretty great solutions that can have a lasting impact and effect. One example of this is how training is conducted for our seafarers.

New digital technologies allowed Gearbulk to take advantage of alternative solutions for hosting in-house and external online training as well as online seminars until the prevailing circumstances are over.

Syllabuses and agendas have been developed and approved for Mini-seminars and Safety Leadership training in addition to Ballast Water Treatment System (BWTS) online familiarization / training.

Special seafarer training focus areas in 2020

Gearbulk Safety Leadership Online Training

Effective leadership is a key component of operating a business safely. This course is designed to enhance the safety culture onboard through effective safety leadership.

Gearbulk Officers Mini Online Seminars

As the annual Senior Officer’s Seminar was cancelled due to the pandemic crisis and global travel restrictions, Gearbulk initiated virtual seminar sessions for Gearbulk Senior Officers.

Ballast Water Treatment System Online Familiarisation

Invasive aquatic species present a major threat to the marine ecosystem, and shipping has been identified as a major pathway for introducing species to new environments. Training plays an important role in ensuring that crew are familiar with the BWM Convention requirements and use of the Ballast Water Treatment System that is installed onboard.

Reflective Learning

Reflective learning involves looking back at something; a past experience or an idea and then critically analysing the event. Gearbulk has adapted this process to create a tailor made Reflective Learning program for the fleet.

ECDIS Training

ECDIS on board training is carried out on a weekly basis, including discussions between Deck Officers and Cadets related to the Company’s ECDIS Quick Reference guide. Progress is reported to the Training Manager ashore through company reporting software (Sertica). During 2020, 1174 reports on the training outcome have been sent by vessels. This training resulted in fewer findings during audits and more proactive bridge teams, and will remain a continuous focus in Gearbulk.

Total number of training days: 892.5 days

Total number of seafarers: 1502

Officers developed through the Gearbulk Cadet program: 30 %

Retention rate Officers & Ratings 2020: 98.84 %

Number of internal promotions to Sr. Officer positions: 26

Number of external recruitments to Sr. Officer positions: 0

Gearbulk has for many years provided our seafarers with the opportunity to continue their career ashore within the company. This has been, and is, a valuable contribution to our technical, HSEQ and project departments, providing in-depth knowledge of the ship's operation and equipment to colleagues without a seafarer’s background. It builds a broader understanding of our business and connects the people onboard and ashore to work commonly in ensuring a sustainable future for the Company.

Health & Well-being Campaign

Seafarers are prone to experience longer periods of stress and fatigue which can significantly impact overall well-being and safety compliance. The Covid-19 pandemic has led to increased concerns regarding the well-being of our seafarers which prompted a variety of supportive initiatives.