Friday 16 February – The maritime industry is undergoing a crucial transformation, driven by an increasing focus on sustainability in its broadest sense. This extends far beyond environmental concerns, encompassing the wellbeing of the very people who keep our global trade afloat – seafarers. Recognising this critical aspect, the Seafarers Hospital Society (SHS) hosted “Sustainability at Sea: Why Seafarers’ Health Matters” at Trinity House in London.

The event convened various stakeholders, including seafarers, unions, shipping companies, and government officials, to explore key issues, including financial security, mental health, personal fulfilment, and collaboration and best practices. With a number of cadets in attendance, it was a great opportunity to explore the future of maritime employment and careers.

Among the speakers and panellists was Steven Jones, CEO of the Sustainable Shipping Initiative (SSI), who moderated a thought-provoking panel looking at seafarers and their health, wealth, and happiness. The discussions were lively and informative, and there was a general consensus that more needs to be done to support the well-being of seafarers.

The panel consisted of:

  • Caroll Elliott & Marc Evans (SeaFit)
  • Evangelia Maragou (Shout)
  • Shaunna Carden (TogetherAll)
  • Ceri Summers (FairWinds)
  • Teresa Walshe & Michael Edwards (SAIL)

Beyond Medical Check-Ups: A Multifaceted Approach

While physical health remains paramount, the panel broadened the conversation to encompass financial security, mental wellbeing, and personal fulfilment. These interconnected elements play a crucial role in shaping the overall experience of seafarers, impacting their long-term commitment to the industry and contributing to a more sustainable maritime future.

Jones opened by recognising the need for a wide-angle approach to wellbeing, stating, “Seafarers are the backbone of our industry, and ensuring their holistic wellbeing is not just the right thing to do, it’s also essential for a sustainable future. It is vital to explore practical solutions and pave the way for positive change.”

Steven Jones, CEO of SSI, stands in front of a podium at Seafarer Hospital Event delivering his opening remarks

The event focused on the resilience of seafarers, their mental health, and the seemingly constant growing demand for ever greater endurance. However, as demands grow, so too does the likelihood of failing mental health. People can only be resilient up to a point, and as panel after panel reminded us, seafarers are human! They need the same considerations and support as those ashore, just because crews perform amazing feats of endurance does not mean we can constantly ask for more, more, more. There is a limit.

A Call to Action for Positive Change

The Sustainability and Seafarers discussion serves as a crucial platform for raising awareness and sparking vital conversations about seafarer wellbeing. By bringing together key players from the industry we can foster collaboration and pave the way for actionable solutions.

SSI, committed to a sustainable maritime industry, strongly supports this view, and such efforts align well with our work with IHRB and Rafto Foundation on the Seafarers’ Rights Code of Conduct.

We believe that prioritising seafarer well-being is not just a moral imperative, but also a strategic investment in the future of our industry.

Steven Jones, CEO of SSI, stands before a podium moderating a panel during Seafarer Hospital Society event at Trinity House, London. Beside the podium there are two long tables where seven panellists are seated, facing the audience just out of view.

Join the conversation

The “Sustainability at Sea” event presents a unique opportunity to engage with pressing issues surrounding seafarer wellbeing. We encourage all industry stakeholders to participate in this important conversation and contribute to positive change for the maritime workforce. Together, we can build a more sustainable and equitable future for the maritime industry, where the well-being of seafarers is at the core of our success.


All images taken by the Seafarers Hospital Society (SHS).