University launches survey on impact of COVID-19 on crew wellbeing

Marine deck officer on deck of an offshore vessel. Credit: Getty Images

Researchers from the University of Zadar, Croatia, have launched a survey for seafarers to assess the impact that the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has had on their mental wellbeing.

Psychologist Ana Slišković, associate professor of health and wellbeing at the University of Zadar, said that the survey seeks to not only gauge the effects of the global pandemic on crew working around the world, but will publish a paper on the findings to increase awareness of the problems they are facing.

There have been multiple calls for governments to establish seafarers as key workers and exempt them from COVID-19 travel restrictions to allow crew changes to continue. However, seafarers are still facing extensions to their contracts and no access to shore leave, raising serious concerns over fatigue and stress and how this could impact their ability to carry out safe ship operations. There are also reports of crew being threatened with losing their jobs after expressing fears over the risk of contracting coronavirus during cargo offloading operations, and others stopped by police for going ashore to call their families.

Slišković, who is also the lead on the study, said, “I hope that this survey will raise awareness of the impact of COVID-19 on crew wellbeing and that the industry takes heed of the findings in the paper, which I hope to publish later this year, once the responses have been collated.”

The survey will be open for the next few weeks, but Slišković said it may be extended to ensure seafarers are able to share their responses as the situation continues to develop.

To take the survey click here.