The 5th Tristar ‘Safety at Sea’ Conference held on Monday, November 6, was very timely following the recent disclosure of the 3rd quarter 2023 Seafarers Happiness Index which showed a decline. The report shows an overall fall in seafarer happiness to just 6.6 out of 10, comparing to 6.77 in Q2 2023 and 7.1 in Q1 2023.
The Seafarers Happiness Index is a quarterly survey conducted by The Mission to Seafarers. It measures the well-being of seafarers through 10 key questions about their work and life, designed to gauge sentiment about their experiences on board.
“The annual ‘Safety at Sea’ event is Tristar’s contribution to seafarers around the globe, a robust platform to discuss and implement an ecosystem that will enable all seafarers to stay healthy and alive and for them to identify with symptoms of depression and to encourage them to seek care or counselling, or simply talk to a colleague,” explained Tristar Group CEO Eugene Mayne.
In this year’s edition, five panel discussions were conducted on Safety Culture, Health Issues, Happiness and Well-being, Innovation in Seafarer Health, and Planning for the Future. The speakers were Sarah Waite of Shell, Capt. Simon Hodgkinson of West P&I, Capt. Hari Subramaniam of The Ship Owners Club P&I, Fr. Kent Middleton of Mission to Seafarers, Yiannis Fafalios of Care4C, Charles Watkins of MHSS, and Alexander Dimitrevich of MH & CS.
Commented Mr. Mayne in his welcome address: “The care of culture must start at the very top or else it will continue to threaten people, ships, companies, and the industry. We owe it to ourselves to proactively examine every possible factor that contributes to mental health challenges at sea and work together on better solutions for everyone.”
He cited another recent survey which was participated in by almost 19,000 seafarers serving on board 1,574 ships which also showed their satisfaction level decrease compared to previous years. The survey included several barriers to mental health and the top three were absence of information about mental health symptoms, inadequate mental health care coverage, and lack of guidance on coping strategies for mental health challenges.
As a follow-up to the inaugural ‘Safety at Sea’ Conference in 2019, the Tristar Maritime Logistics Team organised a series of townhall-styled Psychological First Aid (PFA) workshops in Mumbai, India, for Vessel Masters and other senior officers. Human behaviour, signs, and symptoms of mental health, and the eight core actions of PFA were highlights in some of the workshops, which were also livestreamed to benefit seafarers around the globe. During the years of the pandemic, the PFA workshops were delivered via online video conferencing, and they are currently conducted in person at training centres around the world.
“We run a well-being campaign onboard our vessels, and seafarers are encouraged to participate in sports or join group activities to connect, and stay connected, with each other. We have established a dedicated helpline that is handled by the Sailors’ Society of the UK, with 24/7 access for all our crew members and their families. And we also stay in constant contact with seafarers on our vessels, with regular onboard visits and monthly phone calls. They are empowered to communicate directly with shipowners and managers, as well as the Sailors’ Society, to raise any concerns,” Mr. Mayne explained.