American Club Urges Industry to Step Up Care of Seafarers Mental Health

Protection & Indemnity (P&I) insurers American Club and Eagle Ocean Marine issue advice on key action points that can immediately make a difference in a video log entitled ‘Seafarer Mental Wellness – Five Things the Industry Can Do Now’.

Continuing their commitment to supporting seafarers and ship owners in the challenging times precipitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, American Club and Eagle Ocean Marine (EOM) have made available key advice on maintaining seafarers’ mental health via a video log (Vlog). It is available on the Club’s Youtube channel:

Joe Hughes, Chairman & CEO Shipowners Claims Bureau, Inc., Managers for the American Club, commented:

“Already of major concern to those involved in the shipping industry, the condition of seafarers’ mental well-being has become more critical during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the outbreak of the pandemic we, at the American Club and Eagle Ocean Marine, have attempted to bring the need for action to the attention of owners, managers and authorities alike.”

“We expressed our, as well as our Members’ and business partners’ support for all mariners through our ‘Weathering the Storm’* video last month, and now want to inject some practical advice into what has become a global, industry-wide campaign.”

Using the most accessible and expressive of channels of communication to deliver its advice the ‘Seafarer Mental Wellness – Five Things the Industry Can Do Now’ Vlog is presented by the Club’s Managing Director in Hong Kong, Chris Hall with clarity and relevance to the current situation.

“The crucial aspect of ameliorating the plight of many seafarers suffering from depression and anxiety is a clear understanding of the problem and taking straightforward and effective action,” he said.

Mr. Hall continues, “Even before the pandemic took hold, an ITF survey, in collaboration with Yale University, identified that 20% to 25% of seafarers were suffering from some form of mental ill-health. COVID delays in crew changes have been well documented. Unexpected extensions to contracts and voyages have exacerbated the problem. This was the primary reason, the same survey concluded, for higher levels of anxiety and depression.”

The Vlog contains five key actions, which start with simple recognition of the situation, without which nothing effective can be achieved, and go on to proffer advice on prioritizing the provision of assistance to crew members through counselling; encouraging on-board social activity, communication and mutual understanding; widespread adoption of anti-virus best practice to engender a sense of control; and consultation with seafarers in preparing mental wellness policies and programs.

“Practical engagement with our owners and the crew members who work with them in response to critical issues has always been the approach of the American Club and EOM. We hope the preparation of this Vlog, and others that we plan for the future, given the face-to-face nature of the information delivery that it affords, will help bring more effective care for seafarers in the future,” concluded Hughes.

The Club is providing constantly up-dated advice to its Members and those insured by EOM on issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic. This addresses a variety of concerns that owners have expressed including the welfare and protection of their workforce. The dedicated webpage can be accessed here

Source: The American Club

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