News: Crew mental and physical wellbeing during extensive delays
28 February 2020
Ships in ports all over the world are experiencing delays due to COVID-19 with additional HSE and customs checks being carried out in some ports. In certain ports, crew changes are difficult or prohibited, and vessels may be subject to additional checks or even quarantine depending on recent ports of call (e.g. if they have been to China) or if seafarers have reported any symptoms of the virus.
Dealing with extensive delays in port or quarantine can be difficult for the crew. If one or more individuals are confined to quarters, this can be even more difficult to cope with. Members should be conscious that these conditions can have an adverse effect on the physical and mental wellbeing of the crew.
A general wellbeing guide was published by the club that includes various hints and tips that may be relevant and of assistance to members and a guide on mental wellbeing was also issued last year, both are available on the right.
On the basis that no personnel on board the vessel are suspected of having contracted the Coronavirus, the research suggests that crew should be encouraged to socialise and avoid periods of individual isolation. Spending time with, talking with and supporting colleagues can help. Onboard wi-fi allows access to the internet which crew can use to stay in touch with friends and family. Crew members can also watch or stream films or download new books, games and music and set up group events/screenings when suitable.
We also understand that some ship owners are offering counselling to their crew. This will likely have to be done remotely, by telephone or video link but, if the vessel has the facilities for it, we anticipate that this could help the crew to cope with their situation and improve their wellbeing.
There are various organisations who can provide support for seafarers:
• The International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN)
• SeafarerHelp is available 24/7
• Mission to Seafarers
• Sailors' Society
The Club remains available to assist members if they have any queries in relation to the wellbeing of crew.