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V.Group partners with maritime welfare charity

GLOBAL ship management company V.Group has teamed up with Sailors’ Society to produce a guide to highlight the positive role Masters can play in ensuring crew wellbeing.

The 28-page guide aims to help Masters play a positive and determining role in ensuring the wellbeing of their crew.

Covering the triggers, signs and symptoms that present in seafarers suffering from poor mental health and wellbeing, the guide shares practical measures that can be taken to respond and assist crew. It also gives guidance on creating an environment that is conducive to positive wellbeing.

Mike Bradshaw, Group Global Head of Health, Safety, Environment, Quality (HSEQ), V.Group, commented:

“During this pandemic, a key priority has been the wellbeing of our crew. As the crisis has developed, our concern for our seafarers’ physical and mental wellbeing has been higher than ever. We believe that equipping our seafarers with the right tools and information can have a significant impact, resulting in the development of this guide. We are proud to have worked in partnership with such an important international charity which has a presence in ports across the world.

“The industry must continue to work together and invest in the wellbeing and support services available for seafarers. It is only by working in collaboration that we will continue to make progress in improving crew mental health and wellbeing.”

The maritime industry is dependent on the work of its 1.6 million seafarers – the ‘human element’ in shipping. Seafarers are the lifeblood of world trade, delivering 90 per cent of the world’s goods.

Sailors’ Society believes that this human element needs to be valued, supported and invested in if it is to be an effective force within the industry.

Johan Smith, Sailors’ Society’s Wellness at Sea programme manager, said: “The nature of a life at sea, far from home and with long contracts, can be incredibly challenging and the current pandemic is exacerbating the strain many seafarers are under. So we’re pleased to be partnering with V.Group who are taking proactive steps to care for the wellbeing of their seafarers. We trust that this practical guide will enable Masters to better support their crew and help them stay physically and mentally fit for the pressures they face every day.”

According to research from the International Maritime Organization (IMO), 80 per cent of incidents occurring at sea are attributed to human error, a term that disguises a variety of underlying problems. Fatigue, poor mental health, stress and other issues all affect seafarers going about their daily work.

These factors can be the difference between a safe transit and a major incident. Wellbeing is the holistic experience of positive health and it includes having good mental health, high life satisfaction, a sense of meaning or purpose and ability to manage stress.

The guide is one of a number of initiatives developed by V.Group to support the mental health and wellbeing of seafarers. Other initiatives include helplines and chat support and a range of online modules to provide long-term tools to cope with stress. The ship management company has also repatriated more than 2,800 crew despite the ever-moving restrictions caused by Covid-19.