Time period: 2014-2016

Members involved: Cargill, Gearbulk, IMC

Seafarer’s lives onboard ships are not in the social consciousness of the general public. This invisibility is a concern when we consider seafarer welfare issues and ongoing recruitment into the industry.

Unlike shore-based careers, seafarers spend their lives in their workplace, with little interaction outside of their colleagues. The life of a seafarer has always been one of relative isolation; however, over recent years, with great technological advances on shore, this isolation has become more apparent and can be a significant barrier to recruiting new seafarers

The welfare of seafarers should be a key concern for all those in the shipping industry. The SSI is committed to making seafaring a more attractive career choice by identifying barriers to entry for young people, and by increasing the overall quality of life on board ships.

The SSI carried out an initial scoping study on the availability of information on maritime careers. The study first looked at what is needed to attract young people to shipping and identified a need for a single point where all necessary resources can be found by young people.

The working group also undertook research on the liveability aspects of life on board. The analysis of these results, coupled with the adoption, ratification and implementation of the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) provisions, prompted the SSI to develop a best practice charter to enhance seafarer welfare.

This charter was developed for adoption by shipowners, operators and managers to adopt, demonstrating their recognition of seafarers’ contribution to the value of their operations, and that they are going beyond compliance to implement voluntary provisions in the MLC.

Since the development and publication of the charter, SSI member RightShip has introduced inspections of liveability aspects into their rating products, which we welcome.