Seafarers working on container ships need the support of port chaplains more than ever, a leading seafarers’ charity has said.
In the wake of Hanjin Shipping’s bankruptcy and the challenges facing the container sector, the presence of a global network of chaplains providing practical and pastoral support to crew is vital, says Apostleship of the Sea (AoS).
“2016 has been a bad year for container lines and in the wake of the Hanjin collapse in August, crew working on smaller carriers will be worried about their own future, especially ratings concerned about their next employment contract,” said AoS Development Director John Green.
He added: “If more carriers come under pressure and we see more go the same way as Hanjin, this will undoubtedly affect seafarers.”
As the impact of the crisis on the global supply chain unravels, reports have also emerged about Hanjin ships’ crew denied shore leave while others are worried they will no longer have jobs to look forward to.
“All this is in addition to the usual pressures faced by seafarers in the course of their work,” said Mr Green.
“According to our Tilbury port chaplain, Wojciech Holub, ‘there is no time for anything’ are words he is often hears as seafarers cope with short port stays and quick turnarounds.
“The question then is what does this mean for seafarers’ mental wellbeing, and also for the safe operation of ships?”
Mr Green said that seafarers need port chaplains who will offer them transport to get away from the ship, help them contact their families and loved ones or just someone to listen to their worries and problems.
“There is no one else to do this for them. Giving due attention to the people at the ‘coal face’ in our industry – the seafarers – is the right thing to do.
“In many industries there is awareness that every component in the supply chain is related, so an awareness of the issues faced by container ship crew and the support they can receive impacts on the whole supply chain.”
Mr Green will deliver a session on ‘Container ship crew: the vital ingredient in a successful supply chain’ at this year’s Intermodal Europe in Rotterdam held from 15th to 17th November. AoS will also have an exhibition booth.