The discussions around the mental health of the seafarers have been increasing, while the industry has been focusing on assisting the seafarers and crewmembers both onboard and ashore.
COVID-19 obviously has a negative effect for the seafarers, with the majority of them being more concerned about their family and relatives than themselves, while for those ashore their financing remains an area of concern.
Referring to the seafarers’ mental health, Mrs Maria Christopoulou, Associate of ASCOT Consulting, commented “our seafarers are onboard but they must not feel alone.”
Specifically, the increased stress is now linked with the financial difficulties the seafarers are experiencing. Prior to the pandemic, the seafarers ashore had their next voyage scheduled, along with their income and their financial situation. However, the matter of crew changes affected their schedule, which led to increased anxiety and a feeling of doubt about their future.
Furthermore, the lack of communication onboard remains an unsolved problem. Less communication means less knowledge around what is going on. Seafarers onboard have complained that they are not fully aware about the pandemic and the situation back home, in addition to the lack of internet connection. This means that they are not able to contact their families and learn the news. Therefore, shipowners should comfort the crew by providing information about the current situation and explain what their company’s next steps would be.
Leaving behind all the stress and doubt the whole industry is experiencing, here are some tips for crewmembers and their future:
- Always remember that the shipping industry is a crucial and never-ending sector.
- Cadets and those going onboard for the first time could have an adequate training and be prepared as much as possible.
- If you are aware of the potential challenges it will be easier to cope with life onboard.
- Shipping industry should work closely with staff ashore, providing them additional training or refreshing courses.
- Ship owners and managers should be in close contact with the crew onboard to understand what they are experiencing and how they’re coping with the situation.
- Seafarers have to socialize more onboard and create strong relationships.
- Shipping companies could improve communication of crew, so they’re able to call back home.
- Crewing managers need to provide accurate, relevant and factual information to the crew and keep in close and frequent contact with them.
Overall, it is of great importance to pay close attention to the seafarers both onboard and ashore as they are an important part of the industry.
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