This time of the year always gives a great opportunity to consider lessons learned and set new year’s resolutions for new beginnings. For that matter, Mr. Simon Grainge, Chief Executive, International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN), makes an assessment of 2021 and shares his message for the new year across the global maritime community.
SAFETY4SEA: How would you briefly describe 2021? What is your assessment?
Simon Grainge: Endurance – the drama and adrenaline rush of 2020 was over, but the effects of the pandemic have lingered on and the future remains uncertain.
S4S: What were the lessons learned for the maritime industry in 2021 and what to keep for the new year moving forwards?
SG: The pandemic has forced everyone to collaborate like never before on issues such as vaccinations, the crew change crisis and the Seafarer’s International Relief Fund. Surely, the lesson must be that we achieve more through collaboration than working independently.
S4S: Focusing on your area of expertise, what do you think that will be the biggest challenge(s) for the industry in 2022?
SG: Seafarers are the lifeblood of the industry and have done everything that has been demanded of them so far in the pandemic.
The challenge in 2022 will be how to maintain morale and efficiency in a workforce that has very little control over what happens and is under huge pressure. Those that place more emphasis on the welfare of seafarers will fare better in 2022 than those who don’t.
S4S: What would be the new year’s resolutions for your organization?
SG: We have two simple resolutions for 2022, the first is to be a catalyst for change to improve the lives of seafarers and their families through our helplines, advocacy, advice, support and crisis funds. The second is to be a collaborative partner and coordinator within the maritime welfare sector.
S4S: What are you looking forward to in 2022? What would you be most glad about seeing changing in the maritime industry next year?
I am looking forward to an end to the pandemic but whether that will come in 2022 is another matter. I would most like to see the industry increasing its support for those who support seafarers.
S4S: If you could make one wish for the maritime industry for the year to come, what would you ask for?
SG: That there will be greater recognition of how important the industry and its seafaring workforce are to everyone’s lives.
- We need to repeat… acts of collaboration like the Seafarers International Relief Fund.
- We need to lose… outdated attitudes towards mental health.
- We need to gain… the support of the public.
- We can succeed by… working together.
The views presented are only those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of SAFETY4SEA and are for information sharing and discussion purposes only.