Workload Spikes Worry Seafarers

Seafarers have reported real and growing concerns about the workloads that they often have to endure while onboard. There are also concerns that spikes in the amount which has to be done can cause real and lasting damage throughout a trip.

Across responses to the Seafarers Happiness Index, crew said they often felt that there was far too much to be done, but with little time or opportunity to get it achieved. This is especially true on vessels which make only short sea voyages. Six-hour cargo watches were singled out as a major concern.

The responses received state that seafarers are increasingly expected to take on heavier workloads with less crew support, and to work longer hours with less time off – on board or on shore – to recuperate.


Multiple respondents spoke about the concerns they had with getting work done with fewer people to share the burdens. Indeed, smaller crew numbers have meant that manual, hands-on, operational tasks are causing excessive physical tiredness. There is also far too much administration and paperwork.

Seafarers raised concerns about the lack of adequate manpower onboard and felt that cuts have placed many crews at the absolute bare minimum, something which can be exacerbated with any long pilotage and extended transits of canals.

With port calls often seeing extremely quick turnarounds, seafarers stated that the pressure of loading/unloading, frequent arrival/departure and continuous ship operations cause heightened levels of stress and fatigue.

They stated that voyage and scheduling factors such as frequency of port calls, time between ports, routing, weather and sea condition en route, traffic density and the nature of duties/workload while in port are significant causes for concern.


It seems increasingly clear from the seafarers who shared their views, that manning levels have been squeezed to levels which can have major and serious repercussions. While the levels may be compliant with the rules, it only takes a period of sustained activity to see workloads reach unsustainable levels.

#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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