March 2, 2023

Happier times ahead for seafarers?

Might the tide be turning for the lives lived by that essential but invisible workforce which crews the world shipping fleet?

It might be emerging from rather low, pandemic-straitened, ebb, but there are some signs that life at sea might be improving. When the Seafarers’ Happiness Index first appeared, as a measure of contentment sponsored by the Mission to Seafarers and the Standard Club, there were some sceptics who might have questioned its veracity. But now, several years down the line, it seems to have become established as a reputable indicator of opinion afloat and a regular measure that can be accorded trust. What is more important, it is being noticed by more employers, who, you would think, ought to have a vested interest in sourcing well-motivated people to run their ships, especially when the post-pandemic recovery has emphasised the real risk of manpower shortages. There will be some relief that the miserable conclusions of the Index in the first quarter of last year, which marked a very low point, seems to have been followed by consistent improvement, and the report shows obvious gain in most fields, with more shore leave and fewer travel restrictions, clearly having an effect.