There is a stark difference between low morale while swarmed and bored
As a seafarer: if you need to make a choice between fatigue and mental distress, which would you choose? Though it is natural to refuse both, there is something new, called boredom.
Not busy, just bored silly
Shipowners, charterers and employers now have something new to worry about. It is the idle time that could also drive crew nuts. Data from Seaexplorer.com and Swiss freight giant Kuehne+Nagel International AG revealed as at 15 October 2021, 665 vessels were waiting to enter ports. This translated to 10 per cent of the total vessels currently in service, with some idling for more than a week. The waiting time averages at 12 days – equivalent to a voyage across the Pacific from Asia.
Seafarers are known to deal with a multitude of issues onboard; exhaustion due to overworking, isolation from families and friends, and troubled interpersonal relationships (to name a few). The prevailing border restrictions made it harder for signing on and off. It resulted in boredom and became another problem for ship captains. They are now reduced to thinking of ways to keep their crew’s moods up. For the record, this is outside of work, and would not be wrong to deem it as light-hearted stress.
There are various ways to relax while waiting, and also moments where crew are disinterested. Markus Grote, from German-owned Hapag-Lloyd AG named this as a challenge for crew morale. “We have some nice live bands from time to time. Hopefully we can keep our crew happy with some barbecues, team events like watching movies together, or playing some sports,” he shared.
Busier days are typically spent in ports unloading and loading, processing paperwork, replenishing supplies and conducting vessel maintenance. However, boredom is sitting at anchorage waiting to dock. Lucky ones who are close enough would have access to local phone networks to be in touch with their loved ones. The drawbacks are supplies shortage and zero shore leave thanks to border restrictions. Boredom may not be a good thing, but it is certainly better than having fatigue and mental distress.
Crewing Online News Team
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