A new report from the Mission to Seafarers charity has highlighted the poor working conditions experienced by seafarers in the international shipping industry. The report, based on a global survey, revealed a decline in scores related to welfare, particularly concerning shore leave, workloads, and crew happiness. This raises concerns about the recruitment and retention of staff in the industry. With nearly two million seafarers manning the world’s 50,000 merchant ships, these concerns about pay, work, and conditions are significant. Shipping is a crucial industry, worth an estimated $14 trillion in 2019, facilitating over 80% of global trade.
The Covid-19 pandemic exposed weaknesses in the shipping industry, with port restrictions leaving many crews stranded for months. Some unscrupulous maritime companies even abandoned vessels to avoid taking care of their crews. In response, the UAE government passed a resolution imposing greater financial penalties for breaching seafarers’ rights. However, more needs to be done to address the deficiencies in working conditions, as the industry already faces challenges from environmental regulations, digital innovations, and competition from other modes of transportation. Companies that invest in training, welfare, and fair treatment of seafarers will be better positioned to retain staff and succeed in the industry.
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