The report from Mission to Seafarers charted a decline in happiness through 2023, starting at 7.1 in the first quarter, down to 6.77 in Q2, then 6.6 in Q3 and 6.36 in the latest Q4 report.
The factors weighing on the index numbers were varied, but included seafarers feeling overworked and underappreciated, social isolation, a lack of shore leave, and stagnating wages.
The report noted that towards the end of its reporting period, concerns were raised by survey respondents about the security situation in the Red Sea and its effect on trip length and general certainty.
A minor increase was recorded for connectivity, which rose to 7.0 from 6.81 in Q3 2023, although issues were reported with limited, slow, and unreliable connections and high costs for data.
Access to shore leave was the other increase in the report, edging up to 6.14 from 6.06. Limiting factors for shore leave include COVID-era policies that have not been updated, port restrictions, short vessel stays and lack of transport from terminals.
“As we have heard before, there are also allegations that some unscrupulous ship agents are taking advantage of seafarers, which is a huge concern, and something which needs to be addressed,” said the report.
“There seems to be a mix of opinions regarding the volume of training provided, with some seafarers feeling overwhelmed by excessive or what they feel is unnecessary training, whilst others expressed the need for more advanced and practical training, especially in automation, new fuels and electronics,” said the report.
Crew interaction dropped
Crew interaction dropped to 6.97 from 7.42. Regular rosters of crew was noted as having a positive impact on morale as seafarers get to know each other and build respect, and incentivising investment in training. One the negative side, crew members observed others spending time alone in their cabins on gadgets or using the internet instead of socialising in common areas.
The Revd Canon Andrew Wright, Secretary General of The Mission to Seafarers, said: “Following the uptick in seafarer happiness in late 2022 after the lifting of COVID restrictions, it is very disappointing to see the downward trend in happiness over the course of 2023. If there was ever any complacency about the circumstances facing seafarers around the globe, these results surely dispel that. We know that some ship owners and managers are doing fantastic work to invest in the wellbeing of their crew, but sadly the overall picture remains concerning. “
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Source : Sea trade