Australian Seafarer Welfare Survey Report

The consequences of the global COVID-19 pandemic have been tremendous for the world’s seafarers. Border closures around the world and within Australia have made critical aspects of seafarers’ working lives such as crew change, shore leave, medical attention and simply attendance at work extremely challenging.

MIAL and Hunterlink acknowledge the hard work and dedication of all seafarers, whether they have been able to work during the pandemic or not. MIAL has been advocating on behalf of the Australian maritime industry throughout this difficult period to highlight to government the particular challenges faced.

In relation to seafarers, MIAL notes that despite strong calls from the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), the International Labour Organisation and the UN General Assembly, the Australian government has not joined with 174 other IMO Member States in designating seafarers as key workers.

MIAL’s particular interest in carrying out this survey was to ascertain how seafarers’ sense of value and worth in relation to their work has been affected by the pandemic and to determine whether there are any measures that could be taken to enhance this.

Hunterlink is an Employee Assistance Provider with significant experience in the Australian and global maritime industry. Hunterlink has been dealing directly with seafarers in relation to mental health issues and other challenges presented. Hunterlink’s particular interest in the survey was to find out how confident seafarers feel in relation to peer support for mental health issues, and what barriers exist to starting conversations of this nature.

This report shows the results of the survey conducted between 8 February – 7 March 2021. MIAL and Hunterlink intend to repeat the survey at intervals to gather the changing data over time. MIAL and Hunterlink sincerely thank all seafarers for their significant efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic and send further appreciation to those who took the time to complete this survey.

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