(www.MaritimeCyprus.com)Â The Seafarers Happiness Index was founded in 2015 and is designed to monitor and benchmark seafarer satisfaction levels by asking 10 key questions and serves as an important barometer of seafarer satisfaction with life at sea. Questions focus on a range of issues, from mental health and wellbeing to working life and family contact.
Now, the report that covers the second quarter of 2020 highlights the continuing decline of happiness at sea, largely due to the inability of seafarers to sign off and return home. Heavy workloads, virus fears, and a perceived lack of COVID-19 precautions onboard vessels are exacerbating the decline in satisfaction.
For Q2 2020
General happiness levels have fallen, which is to be expected with so many seafarers feeling trapped at sea.
However, there were other issues that came to light with reports of sexism, racism and bullying all seemingly on the rise. There was also talk of heightened tensions with reports of drunkenness and secret cabin drinking suggesting some are resorting to alcohol to perhaps numb the pain.
It appears that the stress onboard is exacerbated by workload. Crews are sailing with fewer people and there are reports of more sickness onboard and even suggestions of malingering. All this creates a toxic environment, especially when seafarers are expected to
work harder than ever and there is pressure to keep hygiene standards at almost hospital levels. The demands are relentless, with no sign of letting up.
Ensuring cleanliness and hygiene is all well and good, but there needs to be the training and tools to do so. These seem to be lacking on many vessels with the result once more of heightened stress. Frustrations are intensified further as seafarers struggle to adhere to new guidance.
One issue which is perhaps symptomatic of the real problems facing crews is that of gangway security. Crews are advised that any visitors displaying symptoms should not be allowed onboard, which makes perfect sense.
However, when we put ourselves in the position of the gangway watch it is not so straightforward. In hot climates, everyone arriving at the top of a long accommodation ladder is out of breath and sweating. Add masks and hard hats into this equation and there is almost a tragic comedy to the dance around seafarers being asked to do so much.
For even more details, click on the below image to read the latest edition of this report: