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Digital Transformation Revolutionises Maritime Recruitment: The Ankaa Success Story

In an era of digital innovation, the maritime recruitment industry faced a significant challenge: outdated systems ill-suited to its unique demands. Traditional applicant tracking systems struggled to handle the extensive vocational certifications required in the marine sector, while crew management systems were primarily focused on managing crew rather than the recruitment process. Recognising this gap, Clyde Marine Recruitment (CMR) undertook a mission to bridge it. We spoke with Ian Livingstone, Managing Director of CMR, to explore how the introduction of their proprietary system, Ankaa, has transformed marine recruitment processes and garnered positive feedback from seafarers and clients alike.

“Ankaa was born and delivered to fill a gap in the maritime recruitment space as there were no suitable ‘off-the-shelf products’. High street applicant tracking systems could not cope with the quantity of vocational certifications we require, and crew management systems were focused on managing crew, not recruitment.” says Ian.

Challenges Addressed and Overcome

Ankaa’s development journey was marked by several challenges. CMR had to streamline time-consuming administrative processes, eliminate paper contracts, ensure fiduciary and KYC compliance, adapt to emerging GDPR legislation, and create a comprehensive system with an intuitive user experience. However, with determination and expertise, they overcame these hurdles.

“In 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic emerged, CMR made a swift transition to a fully digital recruitment process. This transition was accompanied by the shredding of our legacy database of around 20,000 registered candidates, marking a pivotal moment.” Ian explains.

Clients and candidates warmly embraced the digital process, which was not only efficient but also GDPR compliant. CMR’s commitment to excellence was recognised at the Annual MLC audit, where auditors commended the ease of the audit process, thanks to Ankaa’s features, such as checklists, expiry alerts, real-time information, and a full audit trail.

Substantial Time Savings and Enhanced Efficiency

One of the standout achievements brought about by Ankaa is the remarkable 67% time savings on the preparation of joining paperwork. This equates to over 2,500 man-hours saved per year, allowing CMR to optimise its workforce and serve more clients effectively.

“In 2021, Ankaa introduced an employer module, revolutionising the review and issuance of Seafarer Employment Agreements. Company Directors can now make informed decisions based on vocational and experience data presented at the point of recommendation to employ. This module also integrates identity checks using biometric selfies, along with PEP, sanction, and watchlist screening.” Ian adds.

Ankaa Devices

Environmental Impact: Reducing Paper Consumption

The implementation of Ankaa had a substantial positive impact on CMR’s environmental footprint. The company reduced its paper usage within the office by an impressive 86% since the system’s launch. The recruitment team no longer relies on paper files, reducing the need for printing and toner. Moreover, CMR’s decision to stop accepting unsolicited paper CVs was primarily driven by GDPR compliance, as it required candidates to accept the data privacy policy.

“The ability to have remote access to the entire database significantly improved our out-of-hours service to clients. Staff had full resources at their fingertips, no matter where they were, and were no longer required to carry lists of available personnel at weekends or evenings. These files required constant updating and printing, creating a real administrative and security burden. The system has been pivotal in reducing the carbon footprint and improving our service delivery.” Ian explains

Security and Compliance: Protecting Seafarer Data

Ensuring the security of seafarer data is a top priority for Ankaa, especially in the context of GDPR and other global compliance requirements. The system employs the highest level of security on its servers, akin to the measures used by major banking institutions. Candidate profiles are shielded by two-factor authentication, providing an added layer of security. Data sharing, such as sending shortlisted candidates to clients, is conducted via secure, password-protected URLs that expire after a set time. Ankaa’s use of ID verification through biometric selfies adds an extra level of security, cross-referencing candidates against global sanction lists.

“The use of ID verification using a biometric selfie ensures that we have verified that this candidate is who they say they are, and can be cross-referenced across global sanction lists adding an extra layer of security for our clients too.” Ian states.

Future Enhancements: Streamlining the Recruitment and Crew Management Process

Ankaa is constantly evolving to meet the changing needs of the marine recruitment industry. One notable upcoming feature is the development of a single digital profile within a community app. This innovation will streamline applications with different agents and employers, simplifying the process for seafarers. Additionally, Ankaa plans to offer services beneficial to seafarers within the community app, such as health and fitness resources, medical centres, training providers, and social partner connections.

“Ankaa has been listening to the challenges posed to seafarers of having to make multiple applications with different agents or possible employers. The requirement to have multiple profiles is time-consuming and complicated and as such a single digital profile is being developed within a community app to interface with any company using an Ankaa solution.” Ian elaborates.

Challenges Faced and Overcome

CMR encountered several challenges in the marine recruitment industry before adopting Ankaa. Maintaining accurate candidate details, dealing with paper CVs that quickly expired, and handling extensive administrative tasks were some of the hurdles. Ankaa’s digital profiles have transformed this landscape. Candidates can now update their information directly on the app, ensuring that recruiters always have access to the most current data. This has significantly reduced administrative hours in CMR’s offices.

“As the data is managed by the candidate, there has been a significant decrease in administration hours in the offices.” Ian explains.

Personal Insights: Witnessing the Impact


For Ian Livingstone, the Managing Director of Ankaa and Clyde Marine Recruitment, witnessing the growth and success of both companies since Ankaa’s launch has been immensely rewarding. CMR’s streamlined administration has allowed staff to focus on more productive tasks, ultimately improving the company’s bottom line.

“Watching Ankaa continue to develop has been a highlight. The system, as it stands now, is leaps and bounds beyond where we started in 2016. It’s a pleasure to offer time-saving, more efficient systems to companies in the industry facing the same recruitment and crew management challenges we’ve experienced.” Ian emphasises,


Envisioning the Future of Marine Recruitment


As Ankaa integrates further with larger crew management systems via API, the maritime recruitment landscape is set to transform. The Community App will become a versatile platform, offering secure digital profiles for seafarers, job advertisements, and a range of seafarer-focused services and social partner interactions. Ankaa’s straightforward crewing solution will cater to smaller owners and managers, complementing the recruitment solution.

Ankaa’s vision extends to partnerships with technology specialists to enhance its capabilities and services further, reinforcing its commitment to excellence in the maritime recruitment industry.

Ankaa has become a leader in revolutionising marine recruitment for the digital age. With dedication to innovation, efficiency, and sustainability, Ankaa empowers seafarers, streamlines recruitment processes, and leads the industry into a more connected future.