Singapore-based Eastern Pacific Shipping (EPS) has unveiled an initiative aiming to improve the long term physical and mental wellbeing of its seafarers, including advanced accommodations and increased connectivity. The news comes in a time when thousands of seamen stay onboard for prolonged periods due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Living in the COVID-19, WHO suggests to maintain social distance of at least 1 metre from other persons to the extent possible. When it comes to life onboard, seafarers need to conduct daily work minimizing contact and close proximity to other seafarers
While life onboard with its harsh workload and isolation had already an adverse effect on crews’ mental health, the COVID-19 pandemic with its travel restrictions and limited mobility brought an even bigger anxiety to seafarers, who referred to their vessels as ‘floating prisons’.
The whole shipping industry expects its recovery from the pandemic, with the eyes of all maritime stakeholders set on the digital evolution and the unbeatable relation between the technology and the man. However, the question is, what is yet to come?
Seafarer UK’s Chief Executive Officer, Catherine Spencer, notes the pandemic has negatively impacted seafarers’ mental health and wellbeing. Although there are helpful resources to support them, many appear to be trying hard to overcome what is being described as a ‘crew change crisis. Hence, Seafarers UK has released additional £2 million from reserves to support seafarers in need and their families.
One of the major factors in chronic health problems is being overweight. Overweight prevention is as essential protection as protection from workplace chemicals and noise. In fact, obesity accounts for 2-7% of the total health costs in industrialized countries.
AMSA announced it has received a large number of MLC-related complaints after its late-June marine notice on the maximum period of shipboard service for seafarers during COVID-19 pandemic.
Mental health issues among seafarers is an increasing area of concern, AMSA notes, considering that long periods of time separated from family and friends, long work hours, shift work and fatigue, along with the general operational hazards of seafaring, can all play their part in creating a stressful environment.
Carnival Corporation, the world’s largest cruise company, announced it has been named one of America’s Best Employers for Women in 2020 by Forbes, among a list of 300 employers.
Seafaring is considered among the most risky jobs, due to a combination of the hazardous nature of work, as well as the lifestyle onboard. Along with the risk of occupational accidents, seafarers have to deal with a demanding environment of increased stress and workload, triggering an adverse impact on their physical wellbeing.
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