Former seafarers banded together to campaign for a better future
In a conference themed “Seafarers at the core of shipping’s future” for World Maritime Day, the speakers comprised only crew. All appealed for actions to enhance their future; addressing the crew change crisis, granting access to medical assistance, and most importantly vaccinations.
Stop romanticising resilience
“Romanticising resilience” was an interesting way of describing how the industry at large is just blowing hot air about seafarers’ welfare. Referring to the crew change crisis, Yrhen Balinis (seafarer) argued that both the industry and seafarers need to remember crew are human beings. “We do not have to stay beyond our contract durations and suffer silently while waiting for the crew change crisis to unravel itself,” he stressed.
The session was moderated by Frederick Kenney, International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) Director of Legal and External Affairs, also a former seafarer. The panelists addressed topics such as crew change, diversity, and environment safety. They also expressed how they would like their futures shaped. In IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim’s words, this inaugural event placed seafarers on the centrestage. “This is the first time we have hosted a panel comprising soley seafarers. I truly believe it will not be the last, we must listen and learn,” he remarked.
Importance of good leadership
Captain Thomas Madsen highlighted the importance of leadership in creating a good working culture. “Leaders have to show the way, continuously and proactively communicate rules and values that will ensure an inclusive environment onboard. Everybody in the room speaks the same language, harassment or bullying will not be accepted. They have to lead by example and walk the talk,” he emphasised.
Port captain, Ayse Basak advocated for safe environments. She pointed out, “Together with technology, we need to focus on human factors to make the working environment safe for all seafarers. A safe working environment does not only refer to technical aspects, it also applies to adopting good behaviour to create safe working environments.”
Crewing Online News Team
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