The number of shipping workers in Vietnam fell from more than 45,000 in 2014 to 39,000 last year (Photo: VNA)

HCM City (VNS/VNA) - Universities need to train nearly 15,000 navigating officers and other shipping personnel by 2020 to address a shortage of human resources in the maritime industry, according to Dr Nguyen Duc Ca of the Vietnam National Institute of Educational Sciences.

Speaking at a conference on human resources late last year, he said that they also should train additional 6,000 captains and first officers.

Marine engineers would also be needed to ensure development of the country’s maritime economy, he added.

Statistics from the Vietnam Maritime Administration show that the number of naval personnel had fallen from more than 45,000 in 2014 to 39,000 last May, with the sailor numbers falling especially sharply.

According to Vu Khac Cuong of the administration, many people moved to shore-based jobs.

Besides, high school students do not want to apply for shipping-related university courses, he said.

Ca said nearly 90 percent of graduates from such courses do not work in the shipping industry.

Vo Hong Khanh, Director of Tan Dai Duong Shipping Joint Stock Company, said vessel owners do not pay social insurance premiums for their staff.

Failure to pay salaries as shipping companies make losses is another reason for people in the industry giving up their jobs, he said.

Salaries for sailors in Vietnam at around 10 million VND (430 USD) a month are lower than in other countries. For instance, in China, the average pay is 14-15 million VND while in Japan and the Republic of Korea it is 30-34 million VND.

Le Viet Trung of Bien Dong Shipping Company said the Government should fix minimum wages for sailors and others in entry-level jobs at 600-650 USD per month.

This would attract people and persuade students to apply for maritime courses, he said.

Vietnamese sailors working on foreign ships do not have to pay income tax, while those working on local vessels have to, and this should be changed, he said.

Bui Viet Hoai, Deputy General Director of the Vietnam National Shipping Lines, said universities should tie up with large shipping companies to enable their students to intern.-VNS/VNA