Q2 2020: Key Quotes and Takeaways

Key Take Aways:

  • The average SHI results showed happiness levels of seafarers at 6.18/10 down from 6.30 in Q1.
  • This marked a very worrying downward trend, as we have seen falls from the middle of 2019.
  • The questions, with the singular exception of wages and salary, showed a downward trend.
  • The average respondent would be a male Indian sailing as deck crew on a tanker, and would be aged 25-35.


  • Being apart and not knowing when they will get home is seemingly, and understandably, taking a heavy toll.
  • There is real tension, stress, frustration and annoyance building up. None of which feels like it can end well without the obvious solution of crew changes.
  • Seafarers are not only dealing with normal cargo operations but are also coping with precautions, sanitising and living under a constant fear of infection.
  • Seafarers are running out of patience. They want to be home, they want what they contractually signed up for to be reality, not a hope.
  • Talk of heightened tensions, and with some resorting to alcohol to perhaps numb the pain. There were reports of drunkenness, and suggestions of secret cabin drinking.
  • The stress onboard is also exacerbated by workload. Crews are seemingly sailing with fewer people, and there are reports of heighted sickness onboard – and even suggestions of malingering.
  • All create a toxic environment, especially when seafarers are expected to work harder than ever with the pressure of keeping hygiene at almost hospital levels. The demands are relentless, with no sign of let up.
  • Ensuring cleanliness and hygiene is vital, but seafarers were concerned at the lack of training and tools to do so.


“If people are locked on vessels and have to continue working with no chance for crew change, don’t expect that they will be happy”.

“With every missed pay off day it has been harder to care about the job, and that makes it harder to pass the days”.

“We clean, spray, wipe and scrub constantly, then time is spent washing our own gear and trying to ensure that anyone onboard does the same.”

“Before the pandemic, work onboard ship was very gratifying, but now it is just relentless”.

“Overtime is now absorbed into normal work, and there is no extra payment”.

“Workload is not the amount of hours as much as it is dealing with crew with insufficient experience, knowledge or a poor attitude”.

“Today we received guidance on the use of all kinds of different personal protection equipment (PPE). None of which we actually have onboard. Maybe next port, maybe not.”

“We have separate tables during meals, and staggered times, which means it is very hard to even have conversations.”

“I just want to get off the ship, even for half an hour – just to walk and feel away from things”.

“We have heard that companies are looking to cut our wages but do not know what we can do”.

“We are so lucky to have very nice meals, good variety, healthy on occasion and with some treats.”

“We are so happy to meet a chief cook that’s served onboard passenger vessels”, and the effect of quality meals meant a big rise in happiness.

“How are we meant to keep ourselves free from a virus when so many immigration officers come onboard?”.

“The whole crew is breathing the same air, and if one becomes ill, I fear for all of us”.

“My company tells me to wash boiler suits after each watch, but fresh water is rationed so I cannot”.

“the best we can do is to do our best, but no-one knows if that will be enough”.

“I have needed the dentist for the past three ports but am not allowed to get ashore. How can this be fair?”.

“Life without internet sucks”.

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