Seafarers express a sense of helplessness

The latest Seafarers Happiness Index, a barometer of the key issues facing those at sea today, for the second quarter of 2020, reflects the responses from crew members globally against the backdrop of a global crew change crisis precipitated by COVID-19.

The average results for this quarter show seafarers’ happiness at 6.18/10, continuing a very worrying downward trend that has existed since the middle of 2019. Even more concerning this time around is the fact that almost all the questions, with the exception of wages and salary, saw a fall. Seafarers are not just unhappy with single isolated issue; they are feeling dissatisfied across the board.

While the previous quarter of 2020 captured a growing feeling of confusion and uncertainty amongst seafarers, the latest results show a shift in focus towards issues of leave. This time around the Index reported the reality of crews not being able to get home, worries about the safety of family and friends, and frustration at extended contracts and even fears about entire careers, not just jobs.

The year so far has shown that there is perhaps no set of workers more exposed to a pandemic than seafarers, a fact that is becoming clearer and more certain with every day that passes. Although there was praise and recognition for the shipowners and managers who have rallied to the cause, and gratitude towards the industry organizations which have stepped up their stance and rhetoric, problems still remain.

The seafarers indicated that things are bad and there is a sense of them getting worse. Crew members are tired, fed up, lonely, homesick, sometimes even suffering illness and pain, and they desperately want to get back home.

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