Seafarer Happiness Index Q2 questions how happy seafarers are with shore leave

News & Insights 1 October 2021

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The Seafarers Happiness Index (SHI) Quarter 2 2021 results are a measure of the happiness level of seafarers amidst the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, and with severe global and maritime industry issues again being brought to...

Seafarer Happiness Index Q2 questions how happy seafarers are with shore leave

The Seafarers Happiness Index (SHI) Quarter 2 2021 results are a measure of the happiness level of seafarers amidst the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, and with severe global and maritime industry issues again being brought to the fore.

The question 'How happy are you about access to shore leave?' already had results hovering dangerously low in Q1 but Q2 saw it drop from 5.25 to 4.90/10, marking the first time the average happiness score for a question has dropped below 5 on the Index.

Current circumstances make it impossible to discuss the practicalities and possibilities surrounding shore leave. Given this reality, onboard environments must be conducive enough to fill in for the reprieve that shore leave brings.

Beginning with the issue of connectivity onboard, when asked how happy they were about contact with family when at sea, there has been a drop from 6.91 to 6.40/10 in Q2. The impact of poor connectivity is clear, and we do not need reports to tell us just how much a seafarer, far away from home and shore for months on end, wants, needs, craves, and demands the levels of online access to be affordable, fast enough to be useful, and enough data to feel unhindered.

Environment onboard also revolves around interactions with crew. Tight-knit shipboard communities will see a strong morale and camaraderie that tends to hold the vessel in good stead, while a breakdown of that nucleus will quickly erode all other aspects of life at sea. Therefore, it is concerning seeing the drop in results from 7.24 to 6.80/10 when asked how happy seafarers were about interaction with fellow crew.

Challenges over differences in culture, gender, race, nationality, religion, and language is not new. However, a current concern brought about uniquely by Covid-19 amongst seafarers is the notion that if the nationality of a crew member is from a country with high numbers of infections, the entire crew on a vessel experiences negative treatment at port. Another point of contention at the core of this growing frustration brought about by extended stays onboard is involuntary celibacy and this desire for 'intimacy ashore' has been expressed in detail through the survey.

Companies need to heed this feedback and continue with the fight against the perennial issue of seafarers withdrawing to their cabins. Rest, social activities and recreation need to be tailored accordingly. Following this, the design of vessels, equipment and furnishings need to go beyond practicality and functionality. Instead factors such as colours, sounds, positions of furniture should be factored into designs to provide for a space that is welcoming and conducive for crew to gather and socialise responsibly.

Standard Club is a signatory on the Neptune Declaration on Seafarer Wellbeing and Crew Change as well as a proud sponsor of the Seafarers Happiness Index, a report by Mission to Seafarers.

Category: Loss Prevention

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