Good People, But Far Too Few

This question has usually been something of an oasis of
positivity within the Index.

How happy about interaction with other
crew on board? – 6.85 ↓ from 6.95

Whilst most other issues have
seen dramatic falls, satisfaction with levels of interaction with
other crew has usually held strong. However, this time round
there is a fairly substantial fall and some of the reasons come
loud and clear from the seafarers who responded.

Isolation was a word that was repeatedly used to capture the
sense of how seafarers feel. There are crew who feel remote,
out of touch and very lonely indeed. The only succour is often
internet access and there are of course some who claim that
retreating to cabins only helps perpetuate the problem.

However, this is not how seafarers see it. They do not see
being online as the issue, they see the problem as a lack of
people, a lack of time and work pressures. There is so little
wriggle room with crewing levels that there is not sufficient
space or time for social bonds to develop. This makes it
incredibly hard, if not impossible to really interact well.

The team mentality and approach which has made seafaring
a profession of camaraderie, support and even enjoyment
has been decimated and eroded. Seafarers are simply
emotionally limping through their contracts to get back
home. They do not expect the friendships of old, they do
not anticipate enjoyment, and that further exacerbates the
retreat into isolation and loneliness.

There were also reports of increased tension onboard, even
violence and aggression. Female respondents said they were
sexually harassed, assaulted, and had to deal with a general
level of disrespect due to gender, whilst other seafarers spoke
of the aggression of senior officers. It seems there is a tinder
box of tensions on many vessels, and it does not take much to
ignite the problems. Crews said that enough is enough, and
that cuts to manning levels have reached ridiculous levels;
it is time to equate wellness with numbers onboard. Having
more people onboard releases some work pressure and
would provide enormous relief for crews.

To view the full results for this quarter, please click here: https://www.happyatsea.org/wp-content/uploads/SHI_Q2_2019.pdf

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