Seafarer Fears of Criminalisation

Criminalisation sadly remains a major worry for seafarers – even posing a big threat to recruitment and retention.

A number of seafarers who shared their views through the Seafarers Happiness Index said that they were constantly worried about making mistakes which could see them in court…or even worse just languishing in some foreign jail.


Seafarers said that this worry about the threat, possibilities and impact of criminalisation, gave them massive cause for concern. A number said the threat even had an impact on their desire to remain at sea, while troublingly some even said the threat affected their family’s view of their profession. Families at home are seemingly aware of the possibility of their loved one being jailed for some innocent mistake or oversight – or even being held for the failures of others.

Some seafarers said this was a point of tension for them when going away to sea. There were also others who were rather dismissive about the concept of fair treatment of seafarers. They stated that some countries mistrust crew, and if even the slightest thing goes wrong then seafarers are the first to face problems.


Others also felt that their companies and even the flag State of the ships they work on need to do more to protect them. There were real concerns that a blame culture and the real or perceived scapegoating of seafarers, is making for an increasingly toxic work environment.

As one seafarer said, “Our job is hard enough without always fearing what can go wrong. People need to work properly and do the right thing, but not be scared for what can happen if there is an accident.”


#28Days #Seafarers #Shipping Also check out the Mission to Seafarers website to learn more that the charity does to address many of the issues raised across these challenges facing shipping.

The Seafarers Happiness Index needs the support of those at sea, and of the shipping industry. So if you would like to be a part of driving positive debate and change – complete the survey or share your thoughts with us.

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