With ships being international in nature, seafarers have faced difficulties in sending money home or receiving payment due to sanctions on financial institutions associated with specific states. Recognising the significance of seafarer welfare, the maritime industry is making strong efforts to address these challenges and enhance working conditions.
Seafarer welfare has gained importance among international organisations, alongside issues like decarbonisation, digitalisation, and sanctions compliance. During the pandemic, the IMO and International Labour Organization (ILO) issued guidelines to ensure the well-being of seafarers. These guidelines emphasised crew changeovers, access to medical care, mental health support, and regular communication with families.
The actions of these international organisations reflect the direction of the shipping industry. Digital solutions have emerged as a crucial tool in addressing modern challenges for seafarers. Online platforms and applications enable seafarers to manage travel arrangements, visas and documentation electronically, streamlining administrative processes and enhancing security.
The industry is looking to rapidly integrate the latest technologies to improve efficiency and future-proof operations, such as the software solutions offered by Marcura. The company’s MarTrust, the largest payroll and business payments provider for the maritime industry, exemplifies this integration of digitalisation and welfare concerns.
MarTrust utilises digital solutions to facilitate secure financial transactions for seafarers and alleviates the difficulty for employers as seafarers can receive and send money easily while adhering to international regulations.
“Paying seafarers is a cross-border transaction,” said Errikos Andreakos (pictured), Chief Commercial Officer at MarTrust. “While seafarers send most of their money at home, about 20% of their wages plus overtime and bonuses are paid in cash, which is kept onboard. This can be costly for the shipping company because of trapped capital or expensive security factors.”
“Many cases of theft onboard and onshore, excessive commissions and the risks of carrying cash when you travel have been reported,” he added.
“By digitising this with an E-Wallet solution, you can make an instantaneous payment directly into the account of the seafarer. It’s an instant transfer of funds which both empowers the seafarer and reduces costs for the owner,” Andreakos explained.