The shipping industry must help seafarers now to prevent a mental health catastrophe – that’s the message from international maritime charity Sailors’ Society as the most recent COVID wave threatens a new peak of the crew change crisis.
The charity is building a new Wellness at Sea e-learning platform, which it will make available for free to all seafarers around the globe in response to the pandemic. It says companies urgently need to get on board its Wellness at Sea campaign and make crew wellbeing a priority.
The call comes as companies have raised fears that the crew change crisis will be worse than last year, following surges in crew supply countries and a number of ports closing to seafarers arriving from India.
Sailors’ Society’s CEO Sara Baade said: “Seafaring was already one of the most challenging jobs in the world, and now the COVID crew change crisis has added even more intense pressure on our crews. They are exhausted and anxious – they either face months of uncertainty at sea or the fear of being unable to work and provide for their families.
“It’s a mental health time bomb for the industry, which relies on their labour to keep our global economy moving.
“We are making our Wellness at Sea e-learning and awareness campaign available for free, so there is nothing stopping companies from getting on board to protect their crews’ mental health. Their future – and ours – depends on it.”
The new Wellness at Sea e-learning platform is due to launch later this year. Sailors’ Society is also offering a free 27-week Wellness at Sea awareness programme to shipping companies, which starts at the end of this month [June] and provides information and resources on mental health for their crews, alongside a free helpline for seafarers who are struggling with their mental health or just need someone to talk to.
To find out more about how your organisation can get on board and take advantage of the free Wellness at Sea resources, contact Sailors’ Society’s Wellness at Sea programme manager Johan Smith on firstname.lastname@example.org or +27 82 772 1814.
The Sailors’ Society emergency helpline can be reached on +1 938 222 8181 or wellnessatsea.org/helpline.