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Flying Angel report shows seafarers are happier but worried about IMO 2020

The latest Seafarers Happiness Index report has shown a marked improvement in happiness levels amongst seafarers across all sectors of the industry

Undertaken by The Mission to Seafarers and supported by leading P&I insurer the Shipowners’ Club, the index is a gauge for measuring the feelings and experiences of seafarers across the global maritime industry. Conducted every quarter, in the latest report overall seafarer happiness has risen from 6.27/10 to 6.59 – a very promising sign for the industry.

Happiness regarding interaction with other crew members has also increased notably, up to 7.28 from 6.85 last quarter. This is one of the highest figures provided in the five years since the report began and suggests a growing sense of comradery amongst seafarers.

While results across the board were generally very positive, the anecdotal evidence from seafarers identified a number of ongoing concerns. The impending IMO 2020 sulphur cap appears to be a source of stress for many seafarers. The report indicates that there is a widespread fear of blame for non-compliance, suggesting that some seafarers don’t feel prepared for the cap, which comes into effect in the New Year. Many participants reported concerns that discrepancies in data, in addition to tougher inspection regimes, could result in seafarers facing prosecution by authorities.

While there has been much attention given to the financial impact of IMO 2020 on shipowners, this evidence shines a light on the day-to-day pressures on those serving at sea and the need for governments and shipowners to prepare seafarers for the change. The report indicates that the companies investing more resources into training have happier crews – highlighting the importance of seafarers feeling confident in their own abilities and with the responsibilities placed upon them by new regulations.

Understandably, salaries also play a significant role in helping seafarers to feel stable in their careers. Whilst youngest seafarers appear to be the happiest – reflecting enthusiasm about seeing new parts of the world, with a very high 7.9/10 – many reported that low wages were making them question their future careers. This is concerning for the future of the maritime industry, with the potential for a ‘talent-bleed’ if seafarers are lost to other industries.

Overall, this report has shown a more promising set of results for the end of this year. It would appear that industry-wide changes in attitudes could influence widespread progress in 2020, and there is a strong sense that some of the improvements that The Mission and others have been advocating may be gaining traction.

To read the full report online, click here. Photo: Mision to Seafarers