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V.Group – The journey to better seafarer wellbeing

Signing up for a career in seafaring inevitably means a life in travel – not just while at sea but also to return home or to arrive at the next job. Good logistics and a solid understanding of crew mindset are essential to ensure that maritime travel plans run smoothly so that seafarers arrive at their destination healthy and focused. Tim Davey a former crew member himself having spent nine years at sea and now managing director for GMT Global Marine Travel, a leader in the maritime travel industry, discusses the benefits that a trusted travel partner can bring.

“Seafarers often spend most of the year at sea,” says Tim, “so it’s a demanding role with a lot of expectations. It’s also a demanding environment for our clients, as in shipping, every second counts. Lost time resulting from staffing concerns and logistics issues can have a massive impact on vessel performance.” Speed of response is critical for travel partners to enable crew to be in the right place at the right time. “Response time is important. When we’re sent a crew change, typically the crew change would be worked over a period of days before going back to the crew manager. With GMT, we handle the crew changes and they are turned around with 24 hours, usually by the end of the shift when the request is sent in.”

With such little room for error, it’s important that seafarer wellbeing is carefully considered to avoid exhaustion and unnecessary stress. “The majority of our seafarer customers travel on long haul flights which can be demanding for body and mind. At GMT, in addition to arranging travel services for our customers, we provide advice on ways travellers can stay safe and healthy during their travel. This includes carrying out exercises such as stretching to avoid muscle strain which can be associated with sitting for too long. This helps to ensure that vessel crews are in the right place at the right time and are adequately rested before and after a job. We also monitor any events that may affect the travellers journey along the way and remain in contact with the traveller (natural disasters and geopolitical issues are examples of situations we monitor)

“Wellbeing and safety are at the heart of GMT’s services,” concludes Tim. “We’re more than just a travel agent, we are a fully flexible travel solutions partner who help our customers to increase the performance of their vessel by having the right logistics in place which are beneficial to the seafarers’ physical and mental health. At GMT our saying is that we’re always open, and in the case of crew wellbeing, it’s absolutely true.”