Q1 2020: A Good Meal More Important Than Ever

The latest Seafarers Happiness Report is a special focus on the impact of COVID-19 on seafarers. We did ask our usual set of questions…and here we find out the answer to the enquiry about…How happy about the food on board?

  • 6.64 up from 6.56

In difficult times there is perhaps even more focus on food. With seafarers being stuck onboard ship, and with crew changes uncertain, meals become even more important. For those who are served good food, well prepared and in a style they enjoy, this has a major impact on their happiness levels.

Unfortunately, the converse is also true. Where crews are served poor quality ingredients, badly prepared and in a way which does not reflect their culture and diet, then this has a huge impact on their enjoyment of being at sea.

Those who are happiest talk in terms of “food its satisfying…no complaints”, while some spoke of “5-star food” and of meals being the “Best thing at sea”. There were also comments from companies who have invested in better trained cooks, and this has been very well received by respondents.

Those who were the least satisfied spoke of “constant fried food”, “poor quality with no variety”, “Few fruits, too much junk food”. There were also respondents who felt that officers were always given the best food, with only lesser quality given to the crew. Again, there are some masters who seemingly siphon funds for themselves, which should be spent on higher quality food.

While it has been usual to blame the ship’s cook, now companies are coming in for criticism. One of the world’s best-known shipping companies came in for repeated criticism, with some seafarers claiming the worst food they’d ever had at sea. Fleets which are the byword of excellence seem to be starting to let their crews down.

This could seemingly be a cost saving effort, which in the face of increased food costs could be backfiring badly. According to one seafarer, “The budget for food has not changed in last 5 years! Still 5.75 US$/person/day. It is not enough! We must do more work, work more hours, and eat less food!”

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