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Seafarer happiness continues recovery from Q1 low

Photo: Mohamed Aly - Pixabay corona-virus.jpg
The latest Seafarers Happiness Index report showed a sustained return to more normal levels as pandemic pressures on crew conditions ease.

The index recorded a 7.3 for the third quarter, up from 7.21 in the second quarter and well above the record low of 5.85 in the first quarter of 2022.

“It was hoped that the improvement seen in Quarter 2 was the beginning of the end of the COVID impacts and, thankfully, we are making real headway, as lessons learnt are being brought into effect to make life better at sea,” the report said.

The improvement in the latest response was largely down to more positive responses around shore leave, which still scored lowest of all the questions in the survey, but jumped from 4.8 to 5.87 on the 1-10 scale.

Shore leave has been the slowest area to return to normality for seafarers; respondents said that many countries remain closed to them, either due to local regulation, company preference or high workload.

The report said that 5.87 for shore leave remains a worryingly low figure. “While the issue can be considered as a nice to have, it should be remembered that this will have a massive potential knock-on impact on retention,” said the report.

Scores for food and fitness both fell slightly, with small increases for connectivity and for welfare.

Connectivity remained an important topic for those at sea, with respondents saying that being able to speak with loved ones back at home had a huge positive impact on their life on board. The report said complaints about poor and limited connectivity continued, with slow connections and data constraints limiting the benefits some seafarers can extract from internet connections.

“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,” said the report.

Ben Bailey, Director of Programme at report authors The Mission to Seafarers, said: “Optimism is slowly returning to life at sea, but we must remember that these gains can quickly be lost if we do not keep up the hard work. There are still vital issues that require immediate attention, and which must be overcome to ensure seafarers’ basic needs are not neglected – from food provisions to decent Wi-Fi access and workload problems. As the data shows, by working together, we can improve seafarer welfare and the quality of their lives at sea.”