The latest Seafarers Happiness Index report, just published by The Mission to Seafarers, indicates that seafarer happiness levels are recovering, after reaching a record low last quarter. Overall happiness has increased from 5.85 to 7.21 out of 10, with levels rising across all categories.
The survey, undertaken with the support of the Standard P&I Club and Cardiff, Wales, based international ship inspection specialist Idwal, reports on second quarter 2022.
According to the Mission to Seafarers, the survey shows that the influx of industry solutions to tackle seafarer wellbeing has finally begun to lift morale and the mindset onboard. With more vaccinations, more frequent crew changes, wage rises and new amendments to the Maritime Labor Convention (MLC), there has been a knock-on effect for seafarer optimism.
Additionally, COVID-19 restrictions have now eased across the globe. Seafarers are able to move more freely and have more certainty about whether they can go ashore a0nd when they will next be able to go home.
“This freedom of movement has had a hugely beneficial effect on seafarer happiness and as vaccination levels also rise among crews, there is a sense of stability returning to the industry,” says The Mission to Seafarers.
MORE REGULAR CREW CHANGES AND TIME ASHORE
The survey highlighted that seafarers are happier with their shore leave and with welfare facilities when they are ashore. With COVID restrictions easing, more Seafarer Centers are open and able to support seafarers with the provisions they need when ashore. The biggest contributing factor to an improvement of mood has been that the most fundamental aspect of seafaring now appears more certain – knowing when you are going home. The data from Q2 reflects that the industry is getting better at making crew changes more regularly, with 41% of seafarers onboard for between just 1 and 3 months.
RENEWED FOCUS ON SEAFARER WELLBEING
There has been a marked increase in a range of areas that contribute to overall improved seafarer wellbeing. There has been a focus on social events and a jump in seafarer satisfaction with food on board. Changes to the MLC regarding connectivity have been met with cautious optimism by seafarers who are excited at the prospect of improved communication with loved ones, yet wary of the implications of cost and quality of service. The survey shows that efforts are being made to improve seafarers’ quality of life while on board and that this focus is paying off.
This latest data shows there are signs of better things ahead for seafarers. However, any recovery in seafarer happiness should be treated delicately and can easily be lost. It is important that the industry continues the work to improve crew wellbeing and does not rest on its laurels. Our data does show there is still a way to go and there is further work to be done to reach those seafarers who are struggling, who feel lost, frustrated and are in need of help.
“It is great to see seafarer happiness increase after such low satisfaction in the last Seafarers Happiness Index report,” said the Rev. Canon Andrew Wright, Secretary General of The Mission to Seafarers. “As always, there is much to be learned from hearing directly from seafarers on how they feel about life at sea – the positives and negatives. By listening, we can better understand, empathize and make the necessary changes to improve seafarers’ lives and experiences.”