Today marks a decade since the first Day of the Seafarer was celebrated around the world. That first commemorative day in 2011, IMO asked everyone to voice their support using social networks and show their respect, recognition and gratitude to seafarers everywhere.
Ten years later, we still echo that same message. Seafarers are integral to the maritime industry and over the last year we discovered just how important our industry is in keeping world trade flowing.
This past year has also shone the spotlight on new and old challenges that need to be addressed, including difficult working conditions, lack of clarity when accessing ports, repatriation, crew changeovers and so much more. During the pandemic, seafarers were identified as keyworkers. Duties and workload increased however, there was less support, staff and colleagues to help. The pressures still continue to increase and seafarers are having to deal with all of this. That is why it is more important than ever to focus on support, training and wellbeing for seafarers everywhere.
Last year, IMO encouraged governments to recognise seafarers as keyworkers and to ease travel restrictions to allow easier crew change. This year, the focus is on creating a better landscape for seafarers, looking at the future, post-Pandemic. As part of their global campaign using the hashtag #FarFuture4Seafarers, IMO are conducting research among seafarers to make sure their voices are recognised and included in a change for the future programme.
That research is very timely. One of the constant challenges impacting seafarers – and one which has escalated over the past year during the pandemic – is that connected with mental health arising from their life at sea as well as the poor working conditions. Seafarers have found themselves at sea for far longer than they should have been contractually. Others were docked at ports facing uncertainty about when they can leave, not knowing when they can be back to see loved ones. All this can play havoc with mental health and wellbeing. Mental health is as important as physical health, and should be treated and maintained as such with training and support.
The topic was also discussed at Crew Connect Europe this week, when one of the speakers said, “by leveraging smart and adaptive learning technologies and unlocking the power of our subject matter experts, the maritime industry can achieve the desired outcome of operating with more efficient, safer, and environmentally aware mariners who are properly equipped to achieve performance beyond compliance”.
PISR has established guidelines to assist Maritime Training Institutions in applying to Palau International Ship Registry for their approval of training courses conducted in accordance with the International Convention on Standards of Training Certification and Watchkeeping of Seafarers, STCW78, as amended. We believe that any successful organization recognizes that the most important asset is its people, and this applies strongly to seafarers.
We must also support diversity for further growth. To support this, PISR is also building on the IMO’s Women in Maritime programme by offering free of charge CoC, CoP and CoE certificates to women looking to develop their maritime careers in global shipping.