How About Dealing With Shipmates?

How happy about interaction with other crew on board?

  • 6.67 down from 7.28

Throughout many of the challenges, problems and issues with being a seafarer today there has always been one facet of life at sea which has seemingly been positive – that of the interaction between crews. Surprisingly this is one of the only times that the Seafarers Happiness Index has shown a shrinking of the number for this question.

Seafarers have spoken at length of the positives of good relationships onboard, of the camaraderie, friendships and mentoring which come from being able to work within a cohesive engaged social unit onboard.

Where there are friendships, then there is happiness. Where there is the space and time to engage, where there are shared activities and some enjoyment, then that is where friendships flourish. Take those opportunities away, then we see isolation, loneliness and the degradation of wellbeing within crews.

There were many positives voiced by respondents, and as we have heard before everything is good when the crew all feel a sense of shared endeavour, and the ability to relax and have time for themselves collectively. Some likened the social aspects onboard to an engine – they said it takes maintenance and looking after to ensure all parts work well together. It was then stated that if companies paid as much attention to the upkeep of relationships onboard as they do to planned maintenance of equipment, then the results would be far better.

The fact that this Quarter saw a drop in the results for this question was a cause for concern, and there were a number of negatives which were voiced by crew. These may explain some of the value drop in the data.

The issue of racism was raised, not only the fact that it exists which is troubling enough – but it was stated that seafarers who suffer do not feel they have anywhere to formally turn to complain or for assistance. Often, they do not feel able to raise the issue onboard, for fear of exacerbating the problem, while even complaining to the company is not often an attractive option. There were calls by some respondents for an independent complaint line or procedure – which is something perhaps the industry should explore. This is an area of concern which has been mirrored in earlier reports when problems of sexism have been raised.

Access the latest report here: https://www.happyatsea.org/wp-content/uploads/SHI_Q4_2019.pdf

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