The International Seafarers' Welfare and Assistance Network promotes seafarers welfare worldwide and directly serves seafarers by providing a 24 hour helpline.
Seafarers are frequently overlooked and forgotten about. With the fast turnaround of ship in ports, being on board for 10 months, reduced crew numbers and increased workloads, the lives of seafarers are often tough and hard. Seafarers face long periods away from family and friends with limited or no communication for weeks on end. Shore leave can be severely restricted, particularly for certain nationalities. Welfare facilities and services both onboard and ashore can be a lifeline for seafarers.
ISWAN provides direct welfare services to seafarers. The 24 hour multilingual helpline, SeafarerHelp, runs every day of the year and is free for seafarers to call from anywhere in the world. ISWAN also runs an emergency welfare fund for seafarers in dire need, produces health information for seafarers, and provides information on the location of seafarer centres.
ISWAN works to support the welfare of seafarers all over the world. We work in support of organisations and bodies that provide direct welfare services to seafarers. We work to enable the establishment of welfare facilities and services in port and on ships. ISWAN brings together and supports our members to share learning and experiences to improve seafarers' welfare both onboard and ashore. In particular, ISWAN works for the implementation of the ILO Maritime Labour Convention 2006. We work with companies, unions, governments, welfare organisations (secular and faith based), and ports for the benefit of seafarers' welfare.
The International Seafarers' Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN) has launched a survey, supported by MHG Insurance, of seafarers who work on superyachts to investigate welfare issues specific to the sector.
The survey has been designed to:
- Highlight areas of welfare needs among seafarers on superyachts
- See what is working well under current conditions to meet their welfare needs, and what needs improvement
- Explore how existing seafarers' welfare structures may meet these needs and where there is scope for new provision
A recent survey commissioned by Yachting Pages Media Group found that 75% of crew surveyed said that the industry is not doing enough to tackle mental health problems and look after the overall wellbeing of crew.
“Maritime welfare organisations are used to dealing with seafarers on cargo and cruise ships. The number of seafarers in the yacht sector has grown to around 35,000, and we need to know more about the challenges which are specific to the superyacht sector. As seafarers on superyachts are covered by the provisions of the ILO Maritime Labour Convention their welfare needs - at sea and ashore - should be better known and provided for,” said Roger Harris, Executive Director of ISWAN.
Andrew Dudzinski, CEO of MHG Insurance Brokers, explained their support of this initiative: “The welfare of all crew, but especially those who are insured with MHG, is a primary concern for us. The mental and physical health and wellbeing of these seafarers is not just a professional interest. We want to know better what makes them tick and how their time at sea can be improved.”
Andrew Wright, Secretary General of the Mission to Seafarers, who are assisting with the distribution of the survey, said: “Yacht crew do an amazing job, catering to a small but very influential clientele, providing a phenomenal level of professionalism and service. For most crew this is a satisfying and wonderful job, but we need to see where improvements can be made.”
Superyacht crew are invited to participate in the survey below. The results will be published on ISWAN website in December 2018.