Shoreleave Still Not Sorted

How happy about access to shore leave?

  • 6.16 up from 5.97

Another question which saw positive movement, was the importance and significance of being able to get ashore. Seafarers who shared their satisfaction, and scored highly, spoke of how important it is to them to be able to get ashore. Being off the ship, to be able to unwind and relax made the rest of the trip far more bearable.

A host of younger seafarers spoke of the excitement of seeing new places, and even of feeling privileged to sample the excitement of different countries and cultures. This again does highlight the importance to seafarers of the wider benefits that were traditionally associated with the job, but which have seemingly been eroded over time.

Given that stress, fatigue and mental health are important and key issues to be improved, and the fact that senior officers do suffer greatly from heightened pressures. It was very concerning to read some responses from senior ranks. A number felt that as part of the vessel’s Senior Management then it was next to impossible to go ashore. This was a response that was particularly prevalent on tankers.

These responses stated that it was made impossible by the terminal regulations, inaccessible port areas, country regulations or by the sheer number of surveys/audits/inspections/stores/bunker operations being completed in every port. There was also a sense that if anything did go wrong onboard, then being ashore on shore leave would not be an answer received well by the office. So even if it is an unwritten or unspoken expectation, then senior officers increasingly feel trapped onboard.

Time and time again the seafarers who shared their stories spoke of incredibly troubling figures when it comes to shore leave, “twice in the last 4 years at sea” said one as an example. It seems seafarers are struggling to get ashore, and the realities of ports, pressures and the shortage of people onboard mean that they often do not even want to try.

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