The Association of Seafarer Recruiting Agents (ASRA) is encouraging its members to explore and increase employment opportunities for Sri Lankan youths on foreign ships to create a positive growth impact on its stakeholders, prospective young seafarers and the overall economy of the country.
The media was informed of this after the recent inaugural meeting of the Executive Committee of ASRA, headed by Executive Chairman of Ceyline Group and Chairman of CINEC Campus Capt. Ajith Peiris.
ASRA is an initiative adopted by the duo as Minister of Ports and Shipping Rohitha Abeygunawardena has decided to lead a Public/Private Project (PPP) to embark on a task to increase employment of Sri Lankan youths on ocean going vessels.
“The purpose of forming ASRA is to encourage our members to explore and increase employment opportunities for Sri Lankan youths on foreign ships and to be the voice of the Seafarer Manning Industry as well as to represent matters related to the Seafarer Recruiting Industry)to the relevant Authorities,” ASRA said in a press statement.
ASRA aim to promote the seafaring profession among the youth in all provinces of the country for them to be gainfully employed on ocean going vessels. The statement further said: “Though Sri Lanka is an island, the number of people engaged in the maritime sector especially the seafaring segment is very low compared to the population. Out of 21.5 million people in Sri Lanka, only 16,000 are active seafarers, which is less than 0.1% of the population”.
“The government’s aim is to increase this number to 50,000 in the next five years with the help of the Seafarer Manning Industry. The foreign exchange Sri Lanka earns from the employment of seafarers on foreign ships is approximately US$ 300 million per annum. With the government’s planned project, the expected earnings will increase to USD 1 billion per annum”.
“ASRA and our members will be contributing and helping the above project through which not only will its members benefit but also the Sri Lankan youths seeking lucrative jobs and the country as a whole in terms of foreign exchange earnings”.
“We invite all the companies that are involved in seafarer recruitment to join ASRA and strengthen our position as a maritime nation which can man ocean going vessels with skilled seafarers”.
“Our aim is to promote the seafaring profession among the youth in all provinces and regions to help them achieve a better standards of living and thereby add tangible value to the economy in general”, ASRA said.