Crew persevered in the face of adversity in 2021, here’s a suggested resolution for employers in 2022
When COVID-19 struck in late 2019, 2020-2021 was beyond trying for crew. Seafarers onboard were under the mercy of the variants circulating worldwide. Nations went on severe panic mode and slammed doors shut, disrupting world supply chains. The resulting supply shortage led to inflation and consumers bore the brunt of it, which was unfortunately a warranted sacrifice for the sake of public health. Above all, crew remained neglected in a crisis of such extent.
Appreciate your team
Crew change continued to be the hot button topic throughout 2021. Volatile border restrictions made seafarers feel worse about isolation. Nevertheless, many consciously chose to stick it out and keep supply chains running. The handful who persevered in the eyes of adversity also took on being a listening ear to their peers onboard – in an effort to sustain team resilience.
In a nutshell, they doubled up as peer support leaders onboard, but can anyone be sure these multitaskers were managing well themselves? These crew may have made the ultimate sacrifice of putting others’ needs above theirs. All these factors collectively diluted the attractiveness of seafaring as a career option. Fear of extended stays onboard and global news of harsh working conditions kept aspiring seafarers from joining the industry.
While the industry strives for quicker vaccination efforts to maintain operations, crew change will remain challenging next year due to new variants. On a side note, it was heartening to see shipowners and maritime bodies implement their own vaccination drives to crew onboard and offshore. Some took on allowing disembarking after negotiations with authorities just to let crew have some fresh air, or hang out in their centres for a well-deserved break. However, majority of these acts came from maritime bodies, less from employers.
In light of this, employers can take steps to mitigate the issues confronting crew. Begin by creating an inclusive environment and embrace diversity to give your team a sense of belonging. Reinforce work-life balance as the industry at large is suffering from manpower shortage. To sum up, thank your team for their resilience, sacrifices and understanding in spite of harsh conditions. Nothing beats the feeling of being appreciated for efforts.
Crewing Online News Team
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