According to the latest Seafarers Happiness Index for Q4 2020, the average happiness level rose marginally and given the negative backdrop of world events, this was something of a surprise.
The main driver of this slight rise in satisfaction appears to be the owners who have been taking action to address the needs of their crews. This is not always about being able to get seafarers home or out to ships.
Rather the positives come in small steps. It is the happiness which comes when owners invest in better or cheaper connectivity for their fleet, it is providing better food and more choice, or it is the provision of new gym or entertainment equipment.
These areas saw climbs in happiness because seafarers felt valued, appreciated and understood. Time and time again the responses were about the gratitude when employers do the small things which make a difference.
Of course, seafarers want to get home, but they understand that often it is not within the ship owners’ control. Ship owners can, however, make life more enjoyable at sea, and it was encouraging to see the impact where this has been happening.
Whilst shipping companies are right to bemoan and rail against the current international system which is trapping their employees, they can at least do something to make life better. New ideas, investment and encouragement can do so much to ease the burdens in this awful time.
Seafarers also expressed thanks to charity organization and individuals who rendered help to them. These are the individuals who, even though they cannot get onboard or welcome crew to their centers, are still working to get care packages and support to the ships. In these dark times, the efforts of welfare organizations and volunteers were much appreciated.