The average seafarer happiness level in the fourth quarter of 2017 was 6.25 out of 10, according to the Mission to Seafarers’ relaunched Seafarer Happiness Index (SHI).
The results show a downward trend when compared to the surveys conducted in 2015 and 2016 when levels 6.46 and 6.41 were reported respectively.
The index serves as an ongoing study into how those at sea feel about a range of key areas which impact them on a daily basis and it has been launched so as to bridge the knowledge gap about seafarers’ life at sea.
The feedback provides a blueprint for the needed improvements, the aim being enhancing seafarers’ work and life conditions so as to boost their performance and avoid potential accidents, among other things.
The largest group of respondents, over 40 pct, were in the 25-35 age range and almost 95 pct of respondents were male which mirrors the make-up of the industry on board a ship.
The largest groups of respondents were from South East Asia, followed by the Indian Subcontinent and then Western Europe. These stood at almost 40 pct, and 20 pct, respectively.
Those serving on container vessels marked their average happiness highest, followed by bulk carriers and then tankers bring up the rear.
The lowest happiness score was given to the workload item, as seafarers voiced their dissatisfaction with their treatment on board and pressure they face in completing the required tasks at sea, as well as the fact that they were undermanned. Accusations of being treated like “slaves” or “cattle” were also listed in the Mission to Seafarers’ report.
Among other major issues raised were lack of adequate provisions for seafarers at certain ports, lack of connectivity on board, stagnating of wages by shipmanagement companies amid owners and charterers’ financial woes, along with low standard of food preparation and low level of hygiene.