Thank you for subscribing to Seavoices’ updates!

Please take a moment to check your email inbox and confirm your subscription to start receiving the latest news and updates.

18 May 2020
2 mins
COVID-19 Shipboard Mental Health & Well-being

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the daily lives of many around the world, and containment efforts of the pandemic are strongly centered on the practice of lockdowns in many countries with many confined at home.

Its impact on the maritime industry is felt most by the seafarers working on-board ships around the world. As a vast majority of countries have already called for national travel bans and imposed border restrictions, the extent to which seafarers can find themselves stranded is highly likely.

There are some 1.2 million seafarers globally, and of these, 150,000 have been estimated to be working beyond the expiration of their contracts.

The impact of these restricted entries and thoroughfare has made it very difficult for seafarers to return home and at the very worst left them stranded as airline and port restrictions obstruct their way home. Many Companies are asking seafarers to continue working beyond the expiration of their contracts, in the hopes that the following destination ports may allow them to sign-off. Even with open ports, cancelled flights will mean that it would not be possible to travel home as planned.

With seafarers being stranded indefinitely on-board ships and unable to reunite with their loved ones for longer than they are used to, many would be reasonably concerned and distressed about when they are going to see their families again. On top of that, seafarers face unique working conditions which can put them under a lot of stress, with fewer opportunities for relief than they would be likely to find on land.

The mental health of seafarers is a concern and here are some simple steps for affected seafarers on-board to manage their mental well-being.

1) Take one day at a time – don’t look far ahead.

2) Keep your mind on staying healthy – eating properly and keeping physically fit.

3) Maintain social connections – talk to your colleagues and friends on-board, stay in contact with your family as much as you can.

4) Engage in some form of meditation or relaxation exercise.

5) Call someone.

Here are a list of helplines you can contact if you need someone to speak to.