Article: Dear 2022 by Capt. Yves Vandenborn

News & Insights 20 December 2021

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This time of the year always gives a great opportunity to consider lessons learned and set new year’s resolutions for new beginnings.

Article: Dear 2022 by Capt. Yves Vandenborn

For that matter, talking to Safety4Sea, Capt. Yves Vandenborn, Standard Club's Director of Loss Prevention, makes an assessment of 2021 and shares his message for the new year across the global maritime community.

SAFETY4SEA: How would you briefly describe 2021? What is your assessment?
Capt. Yves Vandenborn: Crisis – 2021 was a year where the maritime industry continued struggling with challenges. The continued poor treatment of seafarers was particularly distressing. Crew changes, albeit slightly improved, continued to be an issue worldwide, with seafarers staying on board much longer than their contract. Unfortunately, this has led to an increased number of mental health issues amongst seafarers. The Mission to Seafarer’s Happiness Index findings clearly reflect the concerns of seafarers.

S4S: What were the lessons learned for the maritime industry in 2021 and what to keep for the new year moving forwards?

YV: Compassion – seafarers are the backbone of maritime shipping, yet their effort to keep the world supplied with essential goods is not sufficiently recognized. The treatment they receive at ports is heartbreaking. Governments, international organizations and shipping companies need to put their words into action and properly recognize seafarers as keyworkers.

S4S: Focusing on your area of expertise, what do you think that will be the biggest challenge(s) for the industry in 2022?

YV: Challenges for 2022 include decarbonization and finding new cadets willing to go to sea. Shipping is crucial when it comes to world trade but of late, being a part of this industry is seemingly not as desirable as before. The reputation of shipping needs to be improved, alongside conditions for seafarers and maritime workers. The importance and the impact maritime trade has on the world must receive more acknowledgement. In addition, with the completion of COP26 and MEPC (outcome unknown at time of writing), the maritime industry will be facing a big challenge to decarbonize.

S4S: What would be the new year’s resolutions for your organization?

YV: Continuity in our work to raise awareness on seafarer wellbeing will go on for as long as it is necessary to improve working conditions for crew. We will also continue our focus on prevention of navigational incidents and will communicate this through various communications, initiatives and speaking engagements at conferences.

S4S: What are you looking forward to in 2022? What would you be most glad about seeing changing in the maritime industry next year?

YV: Commencement of in-person conferences and physical interactions will be most welcomed. After more than two years of virtual meetings, online webinars and working from home, I realize how much previously I have taken human to human interaction for granted. Nothing beats a hearty connection through a warm handshake and a meal together.

S4S: If you could make one wish for the maritime industry for the year to come, what would you ask for? 

YV: Recognition of seafarers as key workers and giving to them the due respect and dignity that they deserve. In a year where we have seen record charter rates, it is sobering, and frankly disappointing, that something as basic as this was not achieved and has made it as a “wish” for the coming year.

  • We need to repeat… efforts to raise awareness for seafarer wellbeing and continue focusing on seafarers
  • We need to lose… the mentality that we cannot change certain things “because it has always been like that”
  • We need to gain… momentum on the decarbonization of maritime shipping
  • We can succeed by… working together as a community

Category: Loss Prevention

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