A serious seafarer recruitment and retention crisis is looming unless governments and ship managers take steps to allow more shore time and improve conditions onboard ships.
The release of the 2021 Seafarers Happiness Index today (26 Jan) shows seafarer happiness levels have reached an all-time low, driven by the extra strain of spending months aboard without any shore time as COVID restrictions bite.
The detailed report, based on thousands of anonymised responses to 10 key questions, is compiled quarterly by the welfare charity Mission to Seafarers, with support from Standard Club and ship manager Wallem. It describes an increasingly demoralised workforce already facing heavy workloads and variable conditions aboard feeling the pressure of the lack of shore time, coupled with perceived low wages.
“We are sleepwalking to a manning crisis,” warns Yves Vandenborn, Director of Loss Prevention at Standard Club. “Resentment is brewing amongst this critical workforce due to the lack of shore leave, uncertainty of trip duration, draconian COVID testing and general lack of recognition.”
Despite the efforts of the international maritime community over the past two years, seafarers are still not designated as key workers. The Standard Club, a signatory to the Neptune Declaration on Seafarer Wellbeing and Crew Change, is again calling on authorities around the world to assign key worker status to the global seafaring workforce to facilitate crew changes and support the logistics of crew travel.
Over the last two years Standard Club has worked with its members, providing information as well as recommending and sharing best practice strategies to improve seafarer wellbeing during the pandemic. The Club is now urging the wider industry to prioritise seafarers’ conditions. Whilst shore-leave and travel restrictions are out of the hands of shipping companies, life onboard is not and varies widely across the industry.
The Seafarers Happiness Index report clearly shows that the ability to keep fit and healthy, the provision of good internet connections, training and protected rest hours, correlate with seafarer happiness levels.
A full copy of the report can be downloaded here.
About Standard Club
Standard Club is a mutual insurance association and member of the International Group of P&I clubs, owned by its shipowner members and controlled by a board of directors drawn from the membership. The club has been insuring shipowners, operators and charterers for their liabilities to third parties for over 100 years and insures about 10% of the world fleet. Standard Club prides itself on quality of service to members, and sets great store in responsiveness and support at all times, especially in times of crisis. Claims are managed from one of our 6 international offices, and our global reach is expanded by our correspondent network. We also put an emphasis on financial strength and stability, which has resulted in an S&P A rating and no unbudgeted supplementary calls for over 20 years.
For more information visit: www.standard-club.com
About The Mission to Seafarers
The Mission to Seafarers provides help and support to the 1.5 million men and women who face danger every day to keep our global economy afloat. The Mission works in over 200 ports in 50 countries caring for seafarers of all ranks, nationalities and beliefs. Through its global network of chaplains, staff and volunteers we offer practical, emotional and spiritual support to seafarers through ship visits, drop-in seafarers' centres and a range of welfare and emergency support services.
The Seafarers Happiness Index is a barometer of the key issues facing those at sea, conducted every three months. Seafarers are asked ten key questions about their experiences, via an online survey.
For more information visit: www.missiontoseafarers.org