The Mission to Seafarers published the findings of its Q3 2022 Seafarers Happiness Index report. Seafarer happiness levels reached 7.3/10, up from 7.21 last quarter, which follows a sustained increase in seafarer satisfaction, after a record low of 5.85 recorded in Q1 of this year.
he results of the survey show seafarers are much happier with their access to shore leave and more certain about crew changes, with both factors contributing to the overall increase in satisfaction.
However, this is largely a return to normal after the past two years’ pandemic restrictions. While the data is largely positive, issues such as food provisions, wages, workload, stress and the reality of life at sea persist, showing that there is no room for complacency and still much work to be done
said the report.
Shore leave is most valued
The biggest jump in satisfaction scores this quarter was on access to shore leave, with happiness leaping up from 4.8 to 5.87. While there are still some restrictions in place in certain regions, the impact of COVID-19 on seafarers is largely waning.
This means seafarers are far more certain they will be able to go home on time, which has fuelled much of the positivity. They can also now make more use of welfare centres, giving seafarers access to key facilities, provisions and entertainment when ashore. While there are still restrictions in place for some crews, notably in China, things are decidedly more hopeful.
Connectivity is vital
Connectivity is always highlighted as a key issue for crews, and seafarers were happier about contact with their family and loved ones while at sea in Q3. Good, cost-effective Wi-Fi access is vital to seafarers and has a huge positive impact on their mental health.
Our respondents also made it clear that connectivity assists rather than impedes social cohesion on board, as seafarers are happier if they are able to contact loved ones
The Mission to Seafarers explained.
While positivity increased, there were a number of seafarers who are still faced with slow, expensive and poor-quality connections which is massively frustrating to them.
Basic needs not being met
While satisfaction has risen, the industry must not fall behind on meeting seafarers’ basic needs. The survey showed one key problem area is physical health and wellbeing. Food was an issue for many seafarers who complained about the provision of fresh, quality food on board.
There were also complaints about the training standards of some catering crew, an issue which is likely to come to the fore after the tragic death of twelve seafarers from suspected food poisoning recently.
Another barrier to wellbeing was having the time and mental state to keep fit. Seafarers reported feeling tired and stressed due to a high workload, which impacted their ability to exercise, and that’s if their vessel had a gym, facilities or even the space to keep fit.
There is clearly more to be done to overcome these basic, but essential issues that are vital to seafarer welfare and human rights.
The rise in seafarer happiness in Q3 shows there are signs of better things ahead for seafarers and industry efforts to make life at sea better are working. While we cannot be complacent and there are still areas for improvement, the gains made for seafarer welfare are certainly worth celebrating
the report added.
How happy about contact with family when at sea? 7.56 ↑ from 7.44
Even to the backdrop of rising positivity, we heard again the problems that face seafarers who have to deal with expensive, poor quality and slow connections. This is hugely frustrating for crews.
I get 30Mb per day – which is almost over as soon as I login
said one respondent.
The reality remains that technology is advancing rapidly while the access, bandwidth, allotment and quality of shipboard crew connections are not. There seems to be a constant disconnect when it comes to seafarer online access.
How happy about wages/salary? 7.42 ↓ from 7.49
Despite the overarching positive mood in the overall Seafarers Happiness Index, wages were one of the areas which suffered this Quarter. That said, what was sensed was a shift not so much in sentiment about pay, but about the value of the job itself.
The salary is the only reason why I keep doing this job, though I used to be passionate and tell everybody it’s the best job ever, but this is part of the past now
a seafarer stated.