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Seafarer happiness declines due to lack of shore leave and long working hours


THE Mission to Seafarers urged international shipping on the International Day of Happiness to take seafarer happiness more seriously as a success indicator and key factor in growth. The call comes after the Seafarers Happiness Index showed a decline in happiness since the last survey in 2016 by social network Crewtoo, with isolation and poor working practices posing serious threats to the reputation of the profession and the ability to recruit. Seafarers, 60 per cent of whom were from South East Asia and the Indian Subcontinent, were asked to mark their happiness out of ten on a variety of measures.

Total happiness among seafarers declined from 6.41 in 2016 to 6.25 in 2017. Workload and onshore facilities presented the largest setbacks, while on-board interactions and friendships were seen as the best part of the job. The most divided issue was connectivity with family and home. Where internet access was available to seafarers, happiness was marked very highly. Founder of the Seafarers Happiness Index

Steven Jones commented: "We often see discussions around the recruitment, retention, training and provision for seafarers in the shipping industry. However, these conversations are too often based on assumption and anecdote rather than real data. "Already we have seen patterns emerge when it comes to making a career at sea appealing.

Seafarers don't shirk from hard work for fair pay but like all of us they need mental and physical down time. "Too often it seems seafarers lack outlets like the opportunity to talk to family, exercise, take a break onshore or even get enough rest. Onboard a seafarer gives their entire work-life balance over to the schedule and facilities provided for them. Without respite from work and colleagues, problems and pressures build and fester. We must work to make life at sea happier." The lowest scored aspect on the index was the workload. The Mission received some brutal assessments from seafarers about the workloads they are asked to tolerate. There was evidence that even if exercise equipment was provided, seafarers don't have the time to build exercise into their routines, and that heavy workloads in ports are impacting the availability of shore leave. Areas without seafarer centres are a source of annoyance and frustration for crews. Around the world seafarers depend on access to seafarer clubs, hubs, lounges or missions. Some seafarers reported never having seen welfare facilities on the runs and port calls they made. Unfortunately, as well as revealing the things that are making seafarers happy, more troubling things have also been exposed by the survey. Ranging from the unethical to the illegal, it is clear that there are still cultural and compliance issues to address in shipping alongside promoting happiness. One respondent stated that they had a company policy of no shore leave.
Other seafarers stated that they feel unable to complain or ask for improvements, as their jobs were perceived to be under threat if they did. Some companies were cited as breaking labour laws. This was especially prevalent when it came to the lashing of cargoes without pay, but also included hours of rest not being followed and overtime agreements being reneged on.

source: Schednet

 

 

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