Seafarers happier, but IMO 2020 a concern

While the latest Seafarers Happiness Index report has shown a marked improvement in happiness levels amongst seafarers across all sectors of the industry, several seafarers have expressed concern that the near-global introduction of the 0.50% sulphur cap in January 2020 could lead to seafarers being blamed if the new regulations resulted in fuelling errors.

The latest quarterly report saw overall seafarer happiness rise from 6.27 to 6.59 (out of 10). Happiness regarding interaction with other crew members rose to 7.28, from 6.85 the previous quarter. Mission To Seafarers, which issued the report, noted that this was one of the highest figures provided in the five years since the report began.

Louise Hall, Director – Loss Prevention at the Shipowners Club commented: “The positive results from this quarter’s Seafarers Happiness Index demonstrates the effectiveness of this initiative, and its associated outreach projects, in improving the quality of life for those at sea.

However  anecdotal evidence from seafarers identified a number of ongoing concerns, particularly the impending IMO 2020 sulphur cap.

The report indicated that there was a widespread fear of blame for non-compliance, suggesting that some seafarers did not feel prepared for the cap. Many participants in the survey reported concerns that discrepancies in data, in addition to tougher inspection regimes, could result in seafarers facing prosecution by authorities.

Mission to Seafarers said that, while there had been much attention given to the financial impact of IMO 2020 on shipowners, the comments from survey respondents shone 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”.