The world needs seafarers
In today’s world, electronic devices such as mobile phones, laptops are a crucial component of daily affairs of any profession and lifestyle, and unfortunately all of them are overflowing with news, reports, statistics, do’s and dont’s of COVID-19. A virus that sounds to be an easy one to be tackled by maintaining high standards of hygiene and yet it has, in many sense, conquered the whole world unlike anyone or anything has ever done before.
But this article is not about how to self-isolate or recreational activities while you have limited access to the outside world. But instead it’s about a specific group of people who, by profession are isolated from the outside world and have limited access to places we call ‘the boring mall’.
Yes, I’m talking about seafarers.
Nowadays more and more seafarers are facing difficulties in repatriation, many of them had months ago completed their said tenure and were awaiting flight details back to their loved ones but instead they are still onboard and in many ports, are not allowed to step off the ship because of strict measures against COVID-19. All this can greatly effect a seafarer’s mental health and wellbeing.
Some crewing companies are trying to help seafarers in such difficult times by providing additional free internet on board ships. Also, a bonus system for those seafarers who have overworked their contracts. Shipping is one of the strong pillars supporting International trade and supply and so are the seafarers, who in these difficulties are working harder than ever before.
All our goods which we have at home were carried by seafarers, and its their strong endeavour that’s keeping the day to day supplies at hand.
So let’s discus some advice for seafarers to keep them in high spirits while at high seas:
1. Eat proper food ( vegetables, fruits, juice) and do some simple exercise. Yes, Yes, Yes, I know it can be difficult in your working conditions, duties, drills and trainings, but just a simple exercise can be a good start. This will make you feel much better and energize your day. We all know that Sport reduces stress and releases the happy hormone.
2. Read more of good news. Keeping yourself up-speed with the latest news about the deadly pandemic virus is good but it may adversely affect your mental health by an increased worry. Reduce watching and reading news about COVID – 19 and more about something positive, like that book you always wanted to finish, or learn about a new hobby to start.
3. Spend more time with your co-workers. Play some games, organize barbeque, listen to music, and watch some good movie.
4. Call an old friend or write to a relative you haven’t reached out to for a long time. I am sure that it will be a pleasant surprise not only for you but for them too.
5. Find old photographs of you and your family, take time to watch them again, indulge yourself into this atmosphere of positive emotions.
All this simple steps can not solve the issue but can make this tuff journey a bit easier and don’t forget that Governments all around the world are doing their best for your safe return back home.
Also I would like to mention a guide by ISWAN that provides helpful advice on positive steps you can take to stay healthy mentally and physically while on board ship and on managing stress and problems with sleep.
ISWAN website (https://www.seafarerswelfare.org/) also provides seafarers helpline where you can call and discuss problems that you have on board ship.
Dear seafarers, you are far away at sea, but we keep you close to ours hearts and in our prayers.
Stay healthy and stay safe
Wish you all a pleasant sailing.
Source: Article Written By Daria Omelchenko, an alumni of the IMO International Maritime Law Institute in Malta