Seafarer Happiness Index (SHI) Q3 shows seafarers receive poor treatment and a lack of respect

News & Insights 17 November 2021

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Seafarers Happiness Index (SHI) Quarter 3 2021 reports an overall average score of 6.59/10, an uptick from 5.99 in Q2. Giving us an indication of the true emotional trajectory of seafarers after struggling for almost two years...

Man on deck offshore

Seafarers Happiness Index (SHI) Quarter 3 2021 reports an overall average score of 6.59/10, an uptick from 5.99 in Q2. Giving us an indication of the true emotional trajectory of seafarers after struggling for almost two years since the pandemic.

With many governments and international organisations working to establish travel lanes for key workers, seafarers have been included in the international response. However, not every country dedicated the same efforts and resources in supporting seafarer travel.

It has not been easy for seafarers to secure a safe passage home, those that did reflected questionable treatment from authorities at airports. Some were reportedly made to leave vessels wearing plastic disposable suits, headed together as they made their transit through airports. This unnecessary degradation and humiliation of seafarers was a source of annoyance as they were increasingly vaccinated and frequently tested.

Even more poignant was how seafarers were made to feel unwelcomed by fellow colleagues in the maritime industry. One response confessed an experience of being seen as ‘bringers of disease’ and 'treated like outcasts by various port authorities at every port'.

These are signs that the wider society and authorities in many nations have yet to understand, appreciate, or recognise the importance of seafarers.

Balancing their experience of poor treatment and a lack of respect with the shortcomings of a career at sea such as the long hours and being away from home, many are accelerating their career change plans. This is particularly prominent with seafarers aged 35 and over, as they indicate how they have no intentions to return to sea once they get home.

Seafaring as a profession is becoming more difficult, less enjoyable, and less rewarding. In the face of the death knell of unmanned ships, many are thinking of moving ashore or into different industries to 'get ahead of the curve when autonomous ships arrive'.

Retention will become a major concern in an already stressed workforce and there will likely be a growing shortfall in seafarers in the coming years. As it is, there is seemingly little or no coping mechanism to manage the multitude of problems that are on the horizon.

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.

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