Seafarers face workload pressures with increasing paperwork, regulations

According to the latest Seafarers Happiness Index Quarter 3 2023, workload remains a foremost concern for seafarers that can significantly impact their well-being, performance, and job satisfaction. 

The latest feedback highlights the demanding nature of their responsibilities and the need for improvements. This section examines the key factors driving workload pressures and the importance of managing workloads effectively.

Seafarers consistently describe their workloads as overwhelming, driven by expanding regulations, administrative tasks, and safety requirements. Evolving environmental and technological demands add further complexity, while there were also concerns raised about the growth of micromanagement from ashore. Companies must recognize that the sheer volume of responsibilities is becoming unmanageable.

One respondent said: “It is overwhelming, as the regulations became more strict, the paperwork consumes almost all of our time.”

Excessive workloads also negatively affect seafarers’ health, causing fatigue and burnout. Insufficient rest, sleep loss from manning shortages, and relentless paperwork take a toll both physically and mentally. Safeguarding seafarers’ health must be a priority.

Proper manning levels, planning, and effective workload management are imperative. Companies must provide adequate personnel, resources, and support to complete assigned tasks. Simply demanding more output without addressing workload can harm seafarers.

Finding solutions to manageable workloads is vital for the well-being of seafarers and the efficiency of maritime operations. Companies must critically examine workload drivers, address shortcomings in management and manning, implement better planning, and provide fair benefits. Valuing seafarers and minimizing excessive work burdens will lead to a happier, healthier, and more productive maritime workforce.

Photo credit: iStock/ Iam Anupong

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