Yesterday (Monday 25th June) marked the IMO Day of the Seafarer, which this year had a particular focus on seafarer well-being.
In response, members of the European Community Shipowners’ Associations; UK Chamber of Shipping and the Royal Dutch Shipowners Association have each launched webpages signposting seafarers to mental health charities, chaplain services and support networks.
The move follows a study of more than 1,000 seafarers by Yale University and the Sailor’s Society, where 26% of seafarers said they had felt “down, depressed or hopeless”.
In May 2018, the UK Chamber of Shipping and seafarer’s trade unions launched detailed guidance for shipping companies on how to proactively support their seafarer’s mental health.
The UK Chamber of Shipping’s spokesman Jonathan Roberts said: “A career at sea comes with extraordinary prospects and opportunities, and we should be ambitious in recruiting great talent to our industry. But we must accept also that in some cases seafaring can be leave people feeling lonely and isolated.
“By launching these webpages we are helping to ensure seafarers know that we are on their side”.
ECSA Secretary General Martin Dorsman said: “Seafaring is a unique profession and the ship owners rely on highly skilled and motivated people to run the ships transporting goods and people across oceans and seas in frequently changing and sometimes challenging environments. We have a lot of respect for the men and women who make sure that the operations are run smoothly 24 hours a day 365 days a year, and want to do all we can to support their wellbeing”.
Annet Koster, Managing Director of the Royal Association of Netherlands Shipowners (KVNR) said: “A modern merchant sea going vessel requires a responsible, independent and well trained crew that safely navigates across the seas to deliver precious cargo all around the globe. Without the seafarers working far away from their homes and families, this work cannot be done. We, therefore, annually celebrate the Day of the Seafarer on the 25th of June. Not only to thank seafarers, but to increase awareness about this magnificent sector and motivate youngsters to aspire a maritime career.”
The webpages can be found at KVNR – https://www.kvnr.nl/dvdz; UK Chamber of Shipping – https://www.ukchamberofshipping.com/mental-health/; ECSA https://www.ecsa.eu/international-support-services-available-seafarers-anywhere-world.