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CMA Shipping 2022: Treat seafarers as you would treat yourself

During the CMA Conference and Exhibition 2022 in Connecticut, USA, leaders of maritime organisations discussed the importance of treating seafarers well

During the North American shipping conference held from 29 Mar – 31 Mar 2022, leaders of various maritime organisations were asked for their opinion on what were the qualities of a good leader during periods of crisis, such as the pandemic. Based on the discussions, what was highlighted was that leaders need to think about treating seafarers well and nurture them with long-term interests of the business in mind.

CEO of International Seaways Ship Management Lois Zabrocky cited an example during the early days of the pandemic. As seafarers would have experienced, crew change had not been easy over the past two years. When the pandemic first hit, the company had to detour to the Philippines for crew change when they passed through Singapore, as the port of Singapore had not allowed it during that period.

According to CEO Zabrocky, the move was painful from a business point of view, as it would add on four days to the schedule, but it was the right choice, “Had we not done that, we would have had seafarers that had been on our ships for coming up on 12 months and that’s not humane… If you wouldn’t want to be treated that way, you don’t treat your people that way.”

Empowering people would result in business sustainability
In terms of creating a sustainable business with employees that will take the company far and beyond, Richard du Moulin, Chairman of Pangaea Logistics and Director of Teekay Tankers opinioned that seafarers would need to be empowered with the freedom to grow within the organization.

According to Moulin, having a good team that provides feedback from ground up is healthy for the organization. Leaders need to take responsibility to train their staff to retain talent, “How are you going to educate more people? How are you going to bring them up? And how are you going to keep them in your organization?”


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