According to the latest Seafarers Happiness Index for Q4 2020, there is an increase in satisfaction on contact with family when at sea. Connectivity always brings out vociferous responses from seafarers. Usually, these are negative, but this time around the data rose, and so too did the positive tone of responses.
Where usually responses are full of frustration at the lack of Wi-Fi or poor-quality at high cost, in this quarter many respondents reported that their companies have stepped up and provided either a better or a cheaper service, or have given drastically improved free provisions to the vessel.
With many crew members trapped on vessels and unsure when they will be relieved, this has made an enormous difference. It is heartening to see that seafarers are being listened to and their needs considered, something which is not always the case.
Quotes abound, such as, “The one good thing that has happened since COVID is that our company has now improved satellite Wi-Fi, and we are able to access it free or at good prices. This is so important to me and really has made a difference”.
This was a view repeated by many, and it is wonderful that many shipping companies have at least done something positive to make life better for seafarers.
The companies may be struggling to get crew home, but they can bring “home” to the crew with good quality Wi-Fi. This is one hugely important benefit which COVID appears to have brought to ships.
Not all have been so lucky, however, and there were a number of seafarers who spoke of the misery, worry and concern about not being in touch with home. These were crew who were unsure how their families were coping, or who could only get in touch infrequently.
These individuals are being doubly punished by COVID as they cannot sign off nor feel connected with their family and loved ones.
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