ITF releases seafarer welfare survey

ITF releases seafarer welfare survey

London: All of a sudden shipping is inundated with surveys looking at the welfare of seafarers. The latest, just released by the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), highlights the need for continuing work on HIV/AIDS and wellbeing among seafarers.

The survey questioned 34 trade unions and 608 seafarers.

Despite all the work that has gone into education about HIV/AIDS, many myths about its transmission remain, ITF noted – including in one labour supplying country where only 17% of respondents believed condoms are effective in preventing it, and 46% believe it can be spread in food and drink. Other major findings came in response to the questions about general wellbeing, with many of those quizzed reporting worries about weight, depression and alcohol use. On average half of them were worried about their weight, while almost 60% experience back/joint pain at work. In one labour supplying country 75% know workmates who are depressed.

ITF maritime coordinator Jacqueline Smith commented “We believe this is the most exhaustive current investigation into this subject, and we offer its findings to everyone concerned with the welfare of seafarers.

“We carried out this research to identify the needs and concerns of seafarers, and to show us how we can best address them within the ITF’s longstanding and pioneering HIV/AIDS programme. The results speak for themselves, and we will – with the agreement of the ITF seafarers’ section, which sponsored this survey – plan a comprehensive programme of action accordingly.”
The ITF survey follows on from the launch yesterday by a social media platform for seafarers of the Crewtoo Seafarers Happiness Index.

Last month a seafarer survey was published as part of the BIMCO/International Chamber of Shipping Manpower Report 2015, which claimed the majority of seafarers’ are content at sea, something that has been contradicted by recent research from Swansea University in the UK which shows that seafaring is the career with the second highest suicide rate in the world after coal mining.

Also, running until this Thursday is a survey carried by our sister title, Maritime CEO, which asks among other things, whether the IMO is doing enough to protect seafarers and whether all seafarers should have access to broadband internet at sea.

The diverse range of topics carried this time in the Maritime CEO survey also include the state of the markets, the threat of permanent overcapacity at shipyards, India as ‘the next China’ and the realities of pooling ships.

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Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.

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