As such, the UK Chamber of Shipping, Nautilus International and the National Union RMT have jointly issued guidelines to shipping organizations on drawing up policies on the social, psychological and emotional well-being of the crew onboard.

Shipping operators may promote mental health by:

  • Designating a director responsible for the’ mental health policy’
  • Developing a ‘top-down’ approach
  • Raising awareness over the issue
  • Providing details of advisors who can discuss with individuals mental health issues

SAFETY4SEA has prepared the infographic below depicting Do’s & Don’ts for shipping operators who want to address and support seafarers' mental health

See the signs

Following factors may indicate a mental health problem:

  • Changes in behaviour or mood
  • Changes in effectiveness at work
  • Inability to focus/make decisions
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Signs of excessive alcohol use or drug use (not limited to illegal drugs)

Take immediate action

When a mental health problem appears:

  • Arrange a meeting in confidence
  • Encourage discussion without time constraints
  • Use open questions to allow expression
  • Arrange further appointments with other experts, if needed
  • Follow-up seafarer’s medical status

Always Keep in mind  

  1. If a seafarer is declared temporarily unfit for sea service -> reassure the job will be kept open for him/her to return
  2. If a seafarer is declared permanently unfit for sea service -> use best endeavours to offer suitable alternative employment