The latest Q3 Seafarers Happiness Index score showed overall happiness at 6.35/10, surprisingly up from 6.18 in Quarter 2. The upturn appeared to have been very much driven by the expectation of an easing in travel restrictions, which is not to be. In July, seafarers spoke of indications that the worst of the pandemic had passed, and of increasing optimism as national borders appeared to be opening once more.
However, this optimism dropped away in the latter part of Q3. There was very much a sense that the second wave of COVID-19 was dashing the hopes of many to get home, or indeed back to work. As might be expected, this was marked by a drop in the happiness levels expressed.
Aside from those at sea, there were also a number of responses from seafarers who are facing financial ruin as they cannot join vessels. There were messages of desperation as seafarers are forced to contemplate career changes.
The respondents stuck at home alluded to their careers being jeopardized, with livelihoods devastated. There was a number of standalone comments from crew who are unable to get on ships, so their work has dried up. They see themselves as forgotten victims of the pandemic. Stuck at home, many say that financial ruin is increasingly likely unless they turn their backs on the sea. They feel utterly helpless with nowhere to turn.
Many of the seafarers who spoke on this issue were from the cruise sector, a part of the industry that the Index usually receives many responses from. Unfortunately, with the pandemic having decimated cruising, it seems many are simply wondering if they will ever work again.