'Day of the Seafarer' - For a fairer future

June 25, 2021

Matthew Simons

Since its foundation in 2011, every year on the 25th of June we celebrate the “Day of the Seafarer” which recognises the contribution of seafarers to international trade and the world economy.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant effect on many industries, but seafarers may be among the hardest hit. Uncertainties and difficulties with port access, re-supply, crew changeovers, difficulties ‘signing in’ causing financial uncertainty, alongside other strains, have impacted heavily on the mental health of workers at sea and their families since the pandemic struck.

Recognition of the unique challenges faced by this sector led to the 2020 “Day of the Seafarer” campaign message urging governments to recognise seafarers as key workers so that travel restrictions could be eased, resulting in more streamlined crew changes.

The 2021 event looks to build on previous campaign goals by focusing on the message “a fair future for all seafarers” with #FairFuture4Seafarers as the campaign hashtag. Workers in the industry can utilise the hashtag on a variety of social media platforms to voice their opinion on what a fair future actually looks like.

ADA Australia supports the 2021 campaign for fairer treatment for seafarers, for better pay and working conditions, for training, for safer and more secure onboard environments, and for respect for the rights of all workers regardless of race, gender and religion.

It is our view that the mental health of seafarers should also be better addressed by the maritime sector. Heavy workloads, long working hours and long periods at sea away from family, friends and loved ones impact on the mental health of seafarers.

The incidence of anxiety, depression, substance use and dependence, and suicidal ideation (and suicide) is of particular concern for this male-dominated worker cohort (who can be reluctant to seek help or open up when struggling with mental health concerns).

This international ‘Day of the Seafarer’, giving all seafarers the opportunity to join the discussion via the #FairFuture4Seafarers campaign hashtag, will help frame the vision for fairer seas. Because who better to outline a fair future for workers on the sea, than seafarers themselves?

This vision will create a world in which the welfare and happiness of workers at sea, as well as continued success for the industry, is assured.

If this information raised any concerns for you, please do speak to your GP, they can help you back to good health. Additionally, you can contact the ITF Seafarers’ support team on email: seafsupport@itf.org.uk or call the Seafarers 24 hour help line on +442079409287.

The ITF has more than 140 inspectors and contacts in over 50 countries who can provide assistance.

Article by
Matthew Simons