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Survey Reveals Alarming Decline in Global Seafarer Happiness

Survey Reveals Alarming Decline in Global Seafarer Happiness
Mike Schuler January 30, 2024

A recent survey of seafarers reveals a worrying decline in their happiness, marking the fourth consecutive quarter of decreasing satisfaction among seafarers worldwide.

The Seafarers Happiness Index, a quarterly survey conducted by The Mission to Seafarers, is a comprehensive study that evaluates seafarers’ wellbeing through a range of work-life aspects.

The latest findings reveal a troubling pattern of discontent among seafarers, with feelings of being overworked, underappreciated, and disconnected from the world being the primary grievances. Other concerns include a lack of shore leave and difficulties contacting family.

The overall happiness score for the last quarter of 2023 fell to 6.36 out of 10. This score represents a significant decrease compared to previous quarters, with scores of 6.6, 6.77, and 7.1 for Q3, Q2, and Q1 2023 respectively. The majority of categories covered in the survey contributed to this decline, with the exception of onboard connectivity, which saw some improvement. However, the survey also revealed frustrations about inconsistent internet access across different vessels within the same fleet.

Additionally, the study highlighted concerns over the lack of social interaction and increasing feelings of isolation among seafarers. It also revealed worries about wages not keeping pace with inflation and a scarcity of training opportunities. The survey also stressed the growing security threats faced by seafarers, including piracy and terrorism.

The Revd Canon Andrew Wright, Secretary General of The Mission to Seafarers, described the results as “very disappointing.”

“If there was ever any complacency about the circumstances facing seafarers around the globe, these results surely dispel that,” said Wright. “We know that some ship owners and managers are doing fantastic work to invest in the wellbeing of their crew, but sadly the overall picture remains concerning. “

Yves Vandenborn, Head of Loss Prevention Asia-Pacific at NorthStandard, which sponsors the survey, said that the report shines a light on the importance of providing seafarers with adequate connectivity, a balanced work-life, and the recognition they deserve. He also highlighted the negative impact of global security threats on seafarers’ wellbeing.

“The increase in international conflicts and heightened tensions inevitably manifested a degree of anxiety and uncertainty for those at sea. With a global workforce, the maritime industry must be conscious of how easily changes in international relationships have a bearing on the wellbeing on seafarers,” said Vandenborn.