International maritime welfare charity Sailors’ Society is providing free mental health and wellbeing support to crew on board more than 1,000 ships through its Wellness at Sea Awareness Campaign.
Based on Sailors’ Society’s award-winning Wellness at Sea programme, the unique approach was developed in response to the current COVID-19 crisis and aims to spread awareness and provide practical support to help seafarers through these challenging times.
Among the companies who have chosen to partner with Sailors’ Society on the Wellness at Sea Awareness Campaign are Seaspan, Fleet, SWIRE, Mayfair, Seaarland, Dynacom Tankers and Dorian LPG, with several other partnerships in the pipeline.
Capt. Prashant S. Rangnekar, COO, Elegant Marine Services Pvt. Ltd, manning arm of Fleet Management, said: “Seafarers are the torch bearers of our industry. When the world was in lockdown, the only movement of goods was by sea. The wellbeing of these essential workers is a top priority and with this in mind Fleet Management Ltd has chosen to partner with Sailors’ Society to provide a comprehensive wellness programme for our seafarers.”
Mayfair is rolling out the Wellness at Sea Awareness Campaign to crews from companies including Maersk Tankers, Scorpio Group and Qatar Gas.
Michail Chopra, CEO, Mayfair We Care, said: “We recognise and fully understand the plight of our seafarers and their families. In this critical time, we stay committed to providing excellent healthcare services and solutions, and will continue to uphold the high standards of the maritime industry. We want to go beyond administering healthcare insurance services for our clients, and advocate for the wellbeing and welfare of seafarers and their families across the globe.
“Our partnership with Sailors’ Society plays a vital role in addressing the pressing issues and challenges our seafarers face every day and we are happy to introduce the Wellness at Sea Awareness Campaign to our clients. We believe that this programme will help empower seafarers to improve their overall health and wellbeing and help them navigate through difficult times.”
The charity has seen a marked increase in companies wishing to partner on its dedicated crew care programmes as the shipping industry continues its response to the global pandemic.
Johan Smith, Sailors’ Society’s Wellness at Sea programme manager, said: “The most important part of the awareness campaign is to tell seafarers that they are not alone, with the emphasis on where to get help in this trying time.
“We’re pleased that so many companies have recognised the importance of caring for their crew, through the stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, and would be delighted to speak with any others interested in taking a similar approach.”
The awareness campaign, which reflects the charity’s 10 years of experience in wellness training and industry-leading work on mental health at sea, is delivered free of charge and rolled-out over 27 weeks via a variety of materials including podcasts, videos and posters. Seafarers also have the opportunity to make contact with counsellors and port chaplains through dedicated helplines.
Torsten Holst Pedersen, Chief Operating Officer, Seaspan Ship Management, said: “Our seafarers are the heartbeat of our business, and we have been strong supporters of Wellness at Sea for about six years. In this time, we have had a number of our seafarers attend the Wellness at Sea classroom training, held awareness sessions during our Forums, and recently added online access to Wellness at Sea and established a hotline where our seafarers can get immediate help in the case of a crisis. With our strong partnership through the years, we were able to enhance our efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic, providing an aligned and efficient response to help our seafarers weather wellness issues in this difficult time.”
For companies wanting to further support their crews, Sailors’ Society has a multitude of crew welfare solutions available under its pioneering Wellness at Sea programme including training, coaching, dedicated helplines and peer-to-peer support.
Working closely with partners, the charity develops a bespoke package to fit individual needs and budget with a view to empowering seafarers to keep physically and mentally fit for a long and productive career with their company.