The latest Seafarers Happiness Index from the Mission to Seafarers shows increased positivity and satisfaction among those working at sea. However, the impending IMO 2020 sulphur cap appears to be a source of stress for many seafarers.
The report indicates that there is a widespread fear of being blamed for non-compliance, suggesting that seafarers don’t feel prepared for the cap, which comes into effect on 1 Jan 2020.
Seafarers reported concerns that discrepancies in data, in addition to tougher inspection regimes, could result in them facing prosecution by authorities.
While there has been much attention given to the financial impact of IMO 2020 on shipowners, this evidence shines a light on the day-to-day pressures on those serving at sea and the need for governments and shipowners to prepare seafarers for the change.
The report indicates that the companies investing more resources into training have happier crews. This highlighted the importance of seafarers feeling confident in their own abilities and with the responsibilities placed upon them by new regulations.
Understandably, salaries also play a significant role in helping seafarers to feel stable in their careers. Whilst youngest seafarers appear to be the happiest – reflecting enthusiasm about seeing new parts of the world, many reported that low wages were making them question their future careers. This is concerning for the future of the maritime industry, with the potential for a ‘talent-bleed’ if seafarers are lost to other industries.
On the other hand, the report has shown a marked improvement in happiness levels amongst seafarers across all sectors of the industry. Happiness regarding interaction with other crew members has also increased notably, suggesting a growing sense of camaraderie amongst seafarers.
The index, conducted every quarter and undertaken by The Mission to Seafarers and supported by P&I insurer the Shipowners’ Club, is a gauge for measuring feelings and experiences of seafarers globally.