Happiness Index Results for Q2 2019

Overall Seafarer Happiness has slipped this quarter, down to 6.27/10…from 6.31. We received compelling and fascinating insights, as well as heartfelt pleas and frustrated opinions from the global fleet. Through our website and online survey, social media channels and those visiting our seafarer centres globally, we were contacted by more than 2000 seafarers.

According to the latest data, seafarers on dredgers were the most satisfied but statistically made up a very small sample. Ferry crews and those on cruise ships were reportedly the least satisfied, whilst crews on tankers, bulk carriers and container ships were all surprisingly well clustered around the average happiness level of the report.

Younger seafarers tended to be the happiest, with those in the 25-35 age range the least satisfied. There was an incredibly diverse spread of ranks and departments, and Second Engineers tended to be the lowest scoring, whilst in general the deck department appears to be more satisfied than the engine department, and meanwhile catering staff are reportedly in a rather low state of happiness. There was also great cause for optimism in the report, as cadets scored very highly indeed, a staggering 8/10, the highest figure we have ever reached across the Index.

There are many issues which leap out of the Seafarers Happiness Index reports, and this time round there were three key themes that emerged. These surrounded wages, shore leave, and work load problems.

Seafarers were keen to voice their frustrations about delayed payment of wages, a problem which seems to be on the rise according to the crews who spoke to us. There is also a growing sense of concern about seafarer abandonment, as crews are feeling vulnerable, as well as frustrated that this problem seemingly will not go away.

One of the issues which continually gets raised negatively by seafarers is the difficulty of spending time ashore from the vessel. It was perhaps more neatly summed up in this report by one seafarer who said, “Shore leave is dead…”. It seems the concept of time off is being eroded, and pressures onboard, costs and hassle mean that not only is it getting harder to escape the ship, but seafarers see the costs outweighing the benefits. It seems not only sad that we have arrived at this point; there are also serious mental health implications which are of concern.

The other concern which was voiced repeatedly was frustration and concern about seafarers having to deal with office staff ashore. There is a growing sense that crews are merely an extension of the office, and that seafarers are there to answer queries or even do work for shore staff whenever they are asked.

As ever we must thank those seafarers who have taken the time to share their views with us. It is so important that they do, as we can then try and find solutions which can make life at sea better.

We urgently need more data, and to hear the stories of more seafarers…and for those who have already done so, to share again. We are building new online capabilities and applications to process the data to make sure the voices at sea are heard. Please visit www.happyatsea.org to find out more and to complete the survey. We also want to get these reports spread far and wide across shipping, so please do share these findings.

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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