Shipowners Club joins with Mission to Seafarers to probe crew attitudes

Malcolm Latarche
Malcolm Latarche
ShipInsight

11 June 2019


The Shipowners’ Club, the leading mutual P&I insurer in the small and specialist vessel sector, has today announced a strategic partnership agreement with international seafarer welfare charity The Mission to Seafarers. As part of the agreement, the Shipowners’ Club has been named 2019 Gold Sponsor for the Mission’s ongoing Seafarers Happiness Index, bringing greater scale to the programme and allowing the Mission to reach more seafarers across the globe.

The latest Happiness Index report, published by the Mission this quarter, found that while seafarers show high levels of pride in their profession, ongoing issues such as insufficient training, poor meal choice and a lack of social activities on board continue to have an alarming impact on their overall welfare. The report also showed complaints from seafarers around a lack of government support for their profession. This was not limited to one or two nationalities, suggesting that there is a wider need for administrations to address their relationships with seafarers. On a score out of 10, the index for the first quarter was down to 6.31 compared to 6.69 in 2018.

The Index is made up of a standard set of ten questions and these cover key areas, such as mental and physical health, diet, rest, workload, connectivity, training, access to shore leave, as well as relationships at home and onboard. These are answered anonymously, and seafarers are encouraged to complete their answers during each trip. By sharing their feelings on a scale out of ten, and by providing some written insight – the Index gives a voice to seafarers and addresses the fundamentals of why people are happy to go to sea, or not as the case may be.

The addition of The Shipowners’ Club’s extensive networks and resources will enable the Mission to create a truly global image of life at sea, which represents seafarers from across all nationalities, jobs and vessel types.

“We are delighted that The Shipowners’ Club has come on board for this year to support the Seafarers Happiness Index. This partnership will ensure we can continue to operate this valuable survey and get seafarers’ views on important topics of the day,” said Ben Bailey, Director of Advocacy and Regional Development at The Mission to Seafarers.

Louise Hall, Director – Loss Prevention at The Shipowners’ Club, added: “The Seafarers Happiness Index has proven itself a crucial barometer in identifying and addressing ongoing welfare issues within the seafaring community. For seafarers, it provides a confidential platform to raise their concerns and share their stories about life at sea. For employers, it’s a window into the minds of the men and women working on board the global fleet, and a blueprint for improvement and development. The importance of such a platform cannot be underestimated, and we are immensely proud to be doing our part in helping it continue to grow and reach more and more people.”

Ben Bailey added, “Overall, the latest findings from Seafarers Happiness Index highlight the great work being done by some shipping companies to cultivate a safe and enriching environment for seafarers, where their mental and physical needs can be met. However, it’s also clear that there is still a lot of work to be done to protect some seafarers from mistreatment from their employers and to raise the bar for safety and welfare standards across the industry. It may seem simple, but unless these areas are addressed and improved, then seafarers will not be happy in their jobs, and, where possible, will either switch companies or leave the sea altogether.”

A copy of the survey can be found at https://www.happyatsea.org/wp-content/uploads/SHI_Q1_2019-1.pdf