Q2 2020: How Happy Are You About Interactions Onboard

7.04 down from 7.13

Interaction onboard has so often been one of the high points of the Happiness Index. Here we have often had reports and feedback on the importance of positive relationships, and the impacts of friendships and professional respect.

Unfortunately. as the lower figures suggest, there impact of extended contracts and seafarers struggling to get shore leave or to get home has had a significant impact on the atmosphere onboard.

Social distancing onboard is attempted, but often fails. This is cause of increased tension in a number of ways. The fact that seafarers are spending longer at sea but have less positive contact with each other leads to heightened loneliness and isolation. While there are also reports of different nationalities treating the challenges of social distancing differently, and this is cause for conflict onboard.

The pressure to socially distance onboard does take a toll, and seafarers spoke of the tension that this adds to their work and also everyday life onboard. “We have separate tables during meals, and staggered times, which means it is very hard to even have conversations.” Others explained that while guidance to their vessel was to have some occasional special events, such as barbecues – but the instruction is to socially distance, so it all turns into a depressing farce.

In addition, where crew changes were possible, any new signers onboard are kept clear of existing crew, which again does impact the shipboard dynamic. Summing it up one respondent stated, “Interaction is lowered, and morale has plummeted due to this pandemic.”

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