The Mission to Seafarers has published the latest Seafarers Happiness Index report for the first quarter of 2021.
The report highlights three main themes: the consequences of a lack of recognition for seafarers as key workers, the onboard challenges of working hours and crew tension, and the benefits of onboard connectivity and port welfare services.
The first quarter’s responses revealed lingering worries about the ongoing crew change situation. Additionally, the issue of when and how seafarers will be vaccinated also came to the fore.
Seafarers consistently spoke of the pressures to work excessive hours. Furthermore, respondents raised issues of fraudulent record keeping, seeing seafarers working 14 to 15 hours every day but being forced to sign a monthly working slip which complies with working hours. In addition, the workload and the tasks being asked of crew also take a heavy toll, particularly in relation to pressures to reduce manning and rest periods not taken.
Tensions between mixed nationality crews further highlighted criticisms of manning models, particularly with regards to the impact of Covid-19. It was reported that some nationalities are not allowed ashore or allowed crew changes, while others are, which further impacts crew wellbeing.
Encouragingly, progress is being made with more seafarers able to get online and connect with loved ones back home. More shipping companies are working to provide crews with access to wifi.