Seafarer Happiness Index Shows Negative Impact of Covid-19
The Mission to Seafarers published its latest Seafarer Happiness Index, which it said revealed the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on the welfare of international seafarers and their families.
The Mission stated that according to the announcement, the seafarer community is in the midst of a mental health crisis. It said the report shows the continuing decline of happiness at sea, largely due to the inability of seafarers to sign off and return home. Heavy workloads, virus fears and a perceived lack of COVID-19 precautions on board vessels are exacerbating the decline in satisfaction. Without immediate action, there are significant risks for the mental and physical wellbeing of crew and a growing risk to safety.
Among the different categories of ships, cruise ships ranked relatively low on the Index.
The latest report shows that overall vessels are sailing with fewer crew, increased sickness onboard and a pressure to keep hygiene standards at almost hospital-like levels. The demands of meeting these standards while also maintaining social distancing are relentless and seafarers are struggling to adhere to new guidance.
This level of workload has been relentless since the outbreak of COVID-19 and is clearly taking its toll. Seafarers have reported feeling unsupported and stressed, and without respite, which is impacting work standards as well as the welfare of seafarers. Combined with the challenge of accessing medical services, the risk of an increase in incidents of self-harm and in the number of accidents is very real as stress impacts work, compromising safety at all levels.
According the Mission, the message is clear: crew changes are needed, and those who can make them happen must do so, now. Only once seafarers can return home to their families and those serving at sea feel safe can we avert the both the immediate and the long-term impact of a mental health crisis among our seafarers.