Q2 2020: How Happy Are You About Shoreleave

  • 5.75 down from 5.80

The issue of shore leave during a pandemic is a rather troubling one. It would be expected that as most nations have locked down then seafarers would also be confined to the port, and so it has been. Not least because with everything closed there is nowhere left to go.

That said, it has still been a cause of frustration. There are seafarers who have been bemoaning the ability to even get off the ship, just to be on the land. Perhaps even to take a stroll around a port – where it would be safe to do so. With terminals often being so far from cities or towns, there are a number of seafarers who are keen to see some recreation areas in the port environs.

There was also concern that some seafarer centres are not easy to reach, and so the sense of isolation, of claustrophobia becomes ever more problematic. As one respondent summed up, “I just want to get off the ship, even for half an hour – just to walk and feel away from things”, a sentiment that many seemed to echo.

Even in normal times, pre-COVID, the issue of shore leave was felt to be “pretty much irrelevant”, seafarers see that the location of terminals and the size of vessel, mean that places are not worth visiting. They also see increasing speeds in turnaround are having an effect. Something that many ports are boasting of as they seek smart port status, and the ability to get ships in and out with maximum efficiency is pursued.

Such developments are natural for any industry, and it is obvious that businesses will pursue efficiencies, but the impact on people should be considered. One respondent stated that in course of duties seafarers are asked to assess the impact of the vessel on so many different elements, but never, ever the crew.

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