The latest Seafarers Happiness Index, published by The Mission to Seafarers and undertaken in association with the Shipowners’ Club and Wallem Group, reveals crews’ continued decline of happiness at sea
The report’s findings show the continuing decline of happiness among crew at sea, largely due to the inability of seafarers to sign off and return home. Responses indicate declining satisfaction rates on nearly every metric measured.
The latest survey analyses the experience of seafarers across the global maritime industry between April and June 2020, at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. Overall, seafarer happiness has dropped from 6.30 in Q1 2020 to 6.18 in Q2 2020.
Heavy workloads, virus fears and a perceived lack of Covid-19 precautions on board vessels are exacerbating the decline in satisfaction. The Mission to Seafarers stressed that without immediate action, there are significant risks for the mental and physical wellbeing of crew and a growing risk to safety.
The Q2 2020 report shows vessels are sailing with fewer crew, with increased sickness on board and a pressure to keep hygiene standards at almost hospital-like levels. The demands of meeting these standards while also maintaining social distancing are characterised as relentless, and seafarers are reportedly struggling to adhere to new guidance. Seafarers have reported feeling unsupported, stressed and without respite, impacting work standards.
While repatriation continues to be a challenge, some companies have reported successful efforts and last week, the world’s largest container ship operator announced a successful repatriation effort in Panama.
The Mission to Seafarers’ secretary general Andrew Wright said “It is paramount that we see progress with crew changeovers, onboard PPE and improved communication between shore and sea, to defuse this ticking time-bomb. Protecting seafarers is a priority and governments must now come together and work with industry before it is too late.”
With thousands of stranded seafarers denied access even to shore leave, communication continues to be important. Seafarers report that online access is the only way many seafarers are able to contact their family and perform certain personal tasks. In June, Inmarsat extended a discount for crew voice calling services for up to 40,000 ships until the end of July 2020.
Mr Wright called the ongoing situation a “welfare crisis” and said the Q2 report highlights “the cost of inaction and the need for immediate solutions.”
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