Seafarer happiness increases to pre-pandemic levels, but report highlights risks of industry exodus

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The latest Seafarers Happiness Index report from The Mission to Seafarers, highlights how happiness levels have increased, returning to the same levels seen pre-COVID in 2019.

The survey, conducted with support from Wallem Group and the Standard Club, suggests that COVID-19 related strains on seafarers are beginning to ease, and while support measures for seafarers have had chance to take effect, challenges with shore leave and ship-shore connectivity remain.

Shore leave and extended contracts have been a huge challenge since the start of the pandemic, reflected in 5% of seafarers responding who said they have been away at sea for over a year and a further 13% serving at sea for over 9 months, with the remainder reporting less than 9 months so far.

The challenges of balancing home life with the uncertainties that the crew change crisis have led to many, already tentatively considering a move ashore, accelerating their career change plans. The report also emphasises that many seafarers do not intend to return to sea once they eventually get home.

Other issues including the cost of online access came up repeatedly in the report, which for some seafarers internet on board has costed US$25 for 100MB and for others, it highlighted how 250MB provided for a month’s consumption, provided sometimes less than enough for one video call to home.

The Revd Canon Andrew Wright, Secretary General of The Mission to Seafarers, commented, “The issues relating to COVID-19 continue to impact seafarers, and are likely to for some time to come. That said, the data suggests that crew sentiment has stabilised, which is, at face value, good to see.

“Seafarers have been through so much over the past two years. They have been key to world trade at a time of unparalleled risk and disruption, they have kept the lights and heat on, they have kept shop shelves stocked and they have allowed the world to edge towards recovery. We owe them all a huge debt of gratitude and enormous respect and recognition.”

To read the full Seafarers Happiness Index report click here.