A decrease in positivity and crew satisfaction has been recorded in the Mission to Seafarers’ latest Happiness Index released on 28 January.
Interaction with other crew has also fallen in the happiness ratings from 7.28 to 6.67/10, which may be due to accounts of racism that have been raised. Reports have been made to the survey that affected crew do not feel they have adequate support or anywhere to make a formal complaint. This is an area of key concern especially given previous reports of sexism at sea.
The charity recommends that the industry should take responsibility and respond to calls for an independent complaint line or procedure to support seafarers.
There has been a drop in overall seafarer happiness to 6.13/10 compared to 6.59 from the previous quarter . The data comes from more than 2000 respondents, with surveys completed in the final quarter of 2019.
Apart from a rise in racism, key issues identified in the Q1 2019 survey, across all vessel types are; a drop in satisfaction with access to welfare facilities ashore, and workload stress caused by changes in regulations. Mission to Seafarers noted the global Sulphur cap as a key factor in concerns around changes in workload and responsibilities resulting from the new regulation. Respondents noted already high levels of pressure surrounding inspections and audits, in addition to the demands of ‘day to day’ administration and paperwork.
Seafarers also revealed continued issues with shore leave, highlighting the difficulties of accessing welfare facilities ashore and the negative impact to their wellbeing. The Mission stressed the need for an industry-wide drive to ensure correct visas are acquired so that seafarers are able to enjoy the benefits of shore-based welfare facilities whilst in ports and terminals. Ever decreasing turn-around times in ports and stricter schedules also impact time ashore, the charity noted.
Despite the overall drop in happiness, the survey has recorded a rise in some areas. It found that crews who have good quality, low-cost access to the internet and good communication with their families are far happier than those who do not. Those who work in the cruise industry have seen a massive improvement in work satisfaction rising from 5.3 in the second quarter and 6.3 in the third quarter of 2019 to most recently 7/10.