Charities, ship owners, charterers and other stakeholders in the maritime industry must work together to create a culture of care in maritime, according to the Seafarers Hospital Society (SHS).
Society’s landmark study of maritime worker health initiatives, conducted by Yale University with support from Lloyd’s Register Foundation.s explained, delegates at last Friday’s SHS seminar, Supporting Seafarers into the Future, were inspired by the findings of the
Following the situation, Chief Executive of the Society, Sandra Welch said:
Seafarers are people, not just resources, and we need to see them that way. The industry must develop a ‘culture of care’ that respects seafarers as individuals, enhances their wellbeing and improves job satisfaction. It’s not just a pipe dream – it really is achievable and we want to work with them to make it happen. We’re asking the ship owners, charterers and others in the industry to join with us so we can progress these ideas and make them a reality.
Reviewing the key findings of the research, Dr Martin Slade, Director of Yale University Maritime Research, called on delegates to ‘pick the low-hanging fruit’ and join together to make a difference to the lives of seafarers. He said:
“Our research shows that there is significant potential to improve the health and wellbeing of seafarers but changes are needed to all aspects of the working environment. Some of those changes could be made quickly, at low cost and with minimal disruption – and they would make a real difference. Potential benefits include: increased retention rates, reduced training and operating costs, and fewer accidents and injuries – that’s a win:win for all.”
The quick and easy wins advocated by Dr Slade include:
- Promote a healthier diet through training of cooks
- Make drinking water accessible in more locations onboard to address poor hydration
- Introduce a mentoring scheme for new cadets to support them on entering the industry
- Provide organised physical activities onboard to combat isolation, increase physical activity and improve health and wellbeing
- Provide organised social activities that are consistent with the culture of seafarers on board to address boredom and promote cultural cohesion and tolerance
- Provide training and awareness of noise induced hearing loss to reduce the impact of noise on board
- Ensure the medicine chest is fully stocked to improve the healthcare available on board
For the records, delegates also heard about the outcome of the SeaFit Programme, a joint initiative between the Society and The Fisherman’s Mission, with initial funding from the Seafarers’ Charity, to improve the health and wellbeing of the fishing community.
ABOUT THE SEAFIT PROGRAMME
· The SeaFit Programme is joint initiative between the Seafarers Hospital Society and The Fishermen’s Mission. The Programme covers all aspects of health and wellbeing. It includes health checks on the harbourside; health trainers in the community; free dental checks and treatment; access to mental health and wellbeing support; and development of a network of physiotherapists trained to meet the specific needs of fishermen. The Programme began in July 2018 with initial funding from The Seafarers’ Charity. Aspects of the Programme will continue into 2022 funded by SHS and The Fishermen’s Mission.