Seafarers “content” with life at sea, survey says

London: The majority of seafarers are quite happy with life at sea, and big improvements are being seen in basic pay and internet access, a survey has found.

The seafarer survey is a new part of the BIMCO/ICS Manpower Report 2015, which aims to understand seafarers’ opinions on life at sea and the projected outlook for manpower in the industry. Over 500 seafarers have responded to the survey so far, representing over 40 nationalities.

Seafarers are more inclined to stay with employers that provide “happy ships”, timely wage payments and career promotion opportunities, the survey’s preliminary findings show.

The rate of basic pay and access to the internet have shown the most drastic level of improvement over the past two years, respondents said.

Tightening regulation is also having an impact on seafarers’ experience of working at sea. “This is a great career, but an increasingly technical and administrative one so it is no longer as much an adventure as simply a job, albeit one with the possibility of adventure!” one respondent said.

Of those surveyed, 66% of seafarers estimated it would take them less than three months to secure another job in the industry if they chose to leave their current company.

“Life at sea is exciting, challenging and very educational. The skills that anyone can receive from this job cannot be compared to anything else ashore,” one respondent said in the survey.

“This survey has provided us with insight into the views of seafarers today. Understanding the key issues for seafarers is especially valuable when attracting and recruiting talented young people to the shipping industry,” Aron Sørensen, chief marine technical officer at BIMCO, said in a statement.

The Manpower Report has been published every five years since 1990. In addition to its survey of seafarers, this year’s Manpower Report will also solicit the opinions of lecturers at maritime education and training (MET) institutions, manning agents, maritime unions, and port welfare workers.


Holly Birkett

Holly is Splash's Online Editor and correspondent for the UK and Mediterranean. She has been a maritime journalist since 2010, and has written for and edited several trade publications. She is currently studying for membership of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers. In 2013, Holly won the Seahorse Club's Social Media Journalist of the Year award. She is currently based in London.
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