To coincide with International Day of the Seafarer, maritime welfare charity The Mission to Seafarers has published an industry report containing the preliminary outcomes from the Executive Roundtable event held during Singapore Maritime Week 2023. The results – which include over 100 proposed solutions, ideas and initiatives – highlight the breadth of opportunities to improve seafarer welfare.
The aim of this forum was to identify effective solutions to the challenges faced by seafarers and drive meaningful change in seafarer welfare. Building upon data from the Seafarers Happiness Index, with supporting insights from sponsors Standard Club part of NorthStandard, Idwal, and Inmarsat, The Mission to Seafarers facilitated the roundtable event to address five crucial areas that significantly impact the lives of seafarers:
• Access to shore leave and connection with loved ones
• Mental health and wellbeing
• Package, security, diversity, career progression
• Living and working conditions
• Support and management on board and ashore
The roundtable session provided a platform for constructive discussions and knowledge sharing among participants, bringing together industry leaders, ship owners, managers, and charterers, who engaged in wide-ranging discussions over their shared experiences of seafarers’ needs, and the proposal of innovative solutions to improve seafarers’ overall wellbeing, safety, and quality of life.
Over 100 solutions were identified during the event, organised into the five main areas explored. These solutions cover a wide range of areas, from standardising shore leave policies and advancing communication technologies to providing mental health resources and fostering a supportive work environment. They also address issues of fair treatment, career progression, living conditions, and effective support and management on board and ashore.
Ben Bailey, Director of Programme at The Mission to Seafarers, said: “It was truly inspiring to witness the diverse range of ideas and opportunities that were put forward to help address and bridge the gaps in seafarers’ needs to enhance the experience of working at sea. When confronted with the immense challenges that seafarers encounter, it can often seem daunting to identify what more can be done to make a difference. However, our report from the roundtable held at Singapore Maritime Week is brimming with innovative ideas and actionable steps that can be taken.
“Whether by The Mission to Seafarers or others, there are ideas present in this report that every organisation can contribute towards and embrace, fostering a collective effort to better support the dedicated men and women who work tirelessly at sea.”
Steven Jones, founder of the Seafarers Happiness Index commented: “As we celebrate International Day of the Seafarer, we are seeing change driven by Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) frameworks. This means every part of the industry is compelled to make improvements. The focus of the Executive Roundtable on Crew Welfare and the follow-up activities are focused on solutions. Finding the answers to the questions that seafarers are asking and finding the ways of making every aspect of life at sea better. This initiative is about having the imagination, vision and determination to fix the ills which are so damaging to seafarers, and we thank all those who have shared their insights, experience and enthusiasm.”
George Haysom, CCO at Idwal, added: “Idwal was delighted to play a part in this highly productive session with top industry executives taking time out of a very hectic week to workshop ideas for solutions to some of the main seafarer wellbeing issues facing the industry. We are keen to keep momentum going and excited to share our own data to bring more transparency of on-board welfare conditions to the debate. We look forward to our involvement in the next developments as they reach a more action-focused stage.”
The Mission to Seafarers is committed to assessing each solution and determining its feasibility. While some ideas may already be in progress, others may require further exploration and collaboration. The Mission’s focus will be to translate the findings into actionable work streams, underpinned by an effective action plan, strong partnerships, and targeted goals, which will give us the best possible chance of delivering the tangible outcomes that will improve the lives of seafarers.
In the coming weeks, the proposed solutions will undergo careful review to determine the most suitable approaches for addressing the identified issues. A position document will be developed to evaluate these proposed fixes, and individuals interested in specific areas will be invited to participate in the implementation process.
The Mission to Seafarers intends to host an online forum to make further progress, as well as in-person meetings during London International Shipping Week (LISW) in September 2023. These initiatives aim to facilitate continued collaboration, share progress updates, and foster engagement among stakeholders. Additionally, plans are underway to return to Singapore in 2024 to assess the progress made and drive the project forward.