Today marks the launch of a two-week digital campaign by the International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN) to highlight the importance of connecting with others for crew wellbeing.
The maritime industry is well aware of the challenges that generations of seafarers have faced working at sea and the sacrifices that they continue to make. Further obstacles created by the COVID-19 pandemic have been hard-hitting and have meant that seafarers – who are used to spending many months away from home – are now facing a great deal of uncertainty about their employment and when they will be able to see their loved ones. It is vital now more than ever that seafarers have all of the available opportunities and support in strengthening relationships on board, especially for those crew that have no option other than to remain on board.
ISWAN’s two-week campaign, supported by the International Chamber of Shipping and the International Transport Workers’ Federation, is themed around Connecting Crew. The campaign aims to emphasise the importance of connecting with others for our wellbeing, particularly during the current COVID-19 pandemic where shore leave is not possible and crew changes are delayed by months.
The first week of the campaign is aimed at shipping companies, helping them to identify barriers to socialising on their ships and providing ideas to facilitate stronger relationships and connections on board. The second week will spark ideas for crew members on how to strengthen relationships with those both on board and at home. The campaign can be followed on ISWAN’s social media platforms – Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn – using the hashtag #ConnectingCrew, and all resources will be uploaded to the ISWAN website: seafarerswelfare.org/our-work/connecting-crew.
The campaign coincides with ISWAN’s ongoing Social Interaction Matters (SIM) Project, which aims to help shipping and ship management companies improve seafarers’ social interaction on board using programmes with proven success, in order to positively impact the wellbeing of their crews. ISWAN recently conducted a survey to investigate the barriers and drivers of social interaction on board, and will be hosting a webinar on Thursday 9 July 2020 to discuss some of the preliminary findings ahead of a full research report.