The Offshore Marine Service Association (OMSA) announced today that it has formed a workforce development committee.

Like much of the international maritime industry, OMSA members are working to attract and retain a sufficient number of mariners for their current operations, increased activity in traditional offshore markets, and the new offshore wind market, OMSA said. This challenge has become increasingly difficult as the offshore industry confronts the affects of the global pandemic as well as regulatory, societal, and market changes. In response, OMSA created the workforce development committee.

The committee is structured to empower and leverage the knowledge of industry experts to create meaningful and lasting change for the industry, OMSA said. Specifically, the committee will be composed of industry experts nominated by OMSA members and approved by the OMSA board of directors. Each committee member will represent a segment of the maritime industry. For example, vessel operators with fleets of 10 vessels or less will have a dedicated member. Additionally, OMSA said, at least one member of the committee will hold a current merchant mariner license. The committee will present recommendations to the board of directors for policy positions and strategies to increase the number of men and women working in the U.S. maritime industry.

“The foundation of the Jones Act industry is the hardworking men and women that build and operate U.S.-flagged vessels," said OMSA President Aaron Smith said. "Currently, there are too many barriers preventing these mariners from advancing their careers or returning to the industry after the downturn. I look forward to seeing what solutions the committee can formulate to cut this red tape and reestablish the hawsepipe. Further, the committee will work to find ways to attract and retain the next generation of professional mariners, something I think that everyone in the industry understands we need to work on.

"My family has been involved in the offshore vessel industry since the beginning. Through this involvement, I have seen how this industry can provide a good family supporting career for mariners," said Tony Cheramie, OMSA chairman and L&M Botruc Rental LLC vice president. "We need to do more to tell that great story, get the next generation into our industry, and ensure mariners have the opportunity to advance.”

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