The Maritime CEO Leader Series powered by Ocean Technologies Group returns to your screens today. For the next six weeks we will be bringing you a mini-series focused exclusively on seafarers sponsored by the Wallem Group.
Today’s episode features the heads of three maritime charities who give insight into what they’d like to see in terms of official regulation changes to improve the lives of seafarers – and their families – in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Often families have felt really in the dark during this crisis
Joining editorial director Sam Chambers are Andrew Wright, secretary general of The Mission to Seafarers, Catherine Spencer, CEO of Seafarers UK and Roger Harris, executive director of the International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN).
On crew transits, Wright said the problems remain at government level. The uncertainty had added huge stress levels to crews and their families, he said.
Spencer commented how the charity sector that supports maritime industries and seafarers had worked incredibly quickly and innovativly to find solutions to the problems brought about the pandemic.
The Seafarers UK CEO said the current situation has shown that there was a need to have a clearer picture on the number of suicides at sea to help understand the problem.
Harris noted how calls to ISWAN’s helpline had tripled in volume during the pandemic.
“We need to do a hell of a lot more to get shipping recognised as a key industry,” Harris said.
The head of ISWAN urged the industry to give seafarers greater financial stability in their jobs, which traditionally have been dictated by voyage contracts.
Spencer called for visa waivers to be introduced, while demanding that flag states take greater responsibility in how seafarers are treated.
Wright from The Mission to Seafarers said that recognising both seafarers and maritime welfare workers as essential key workers is vital.
“The contrast between the way [seafarers] are treated and the way airline staff are treated is marked,” Wright said.
Wright went on to discuss communications issues that need resolving between shipping companies and seafarers’ families back home.
“Often families have felt really in the dark during this crisis,” Wright said.
Access to wifi on ships and in port at a good speed at reasonable or zero prices has never been more important, Wright argued.
The full episode is carried below. The second episode of the Wallem-sponsored Maritime CEO Seafarer Leader Series will air next Thursday.