International maritime welfare charity Sailors’ Society recently marked the fifth year of its longstanding Wellness at Sea partnership with containership operator and manager, Seaspan Ship Management.
Thousands of Seaspan crew have benefitted from Sailors’ Society’s Wellness at Sea programme, which aims to help seafarers keep physically and mentally fit for a long and productive career with their company.
Seaspan has been on board since Wellness at Sea launched in 2015, working with Sailors’ Society to implement a variety of initiatives, including training, coaching, dedicated helplines and peer-to-peer support, in order to care for the wellbeing and mental health of Seaspan employees.
Johan Smith, Sailors’ Society’s Wellness at Sea programme manager, said: “Seaspan’s commitment to investing in their crews’ welfare is truly inspiring. Fatigue, stress and depression on board pose a threat not only to seafarer mental health, but also to the effective running of a ship and the safety of its whole crew. Our partnership with Seaspan has been hugely beneficial for both parties, deepening our understanding of the need and tools required to enable crew to thrive in their careers at sea.”
Seaspan has also seen a marked improvement in retention rates since implementing Sailors’ Society’s Wellness at Sea programme.
Torsten Holst Pedersen, Chief Operating Officer at Seaspan Ship Management, said: “Safety is in the core of Seaspan’s DNA. It’s what propels our relentless pursuit of innovative solutions to positively impact crew wellbeing.
“Our commitment to Wellness at Sea through the years embodies this focus on our crews’ wellbeing and, in return, we saw our retention rates improve from 88 per cent to 96 per cent.”
Sailors’ Society’s pioneering Wellness at Sea programme combines an award-winning training course with professional coaching and support and reflects the charity’s 10 years of experience in wellness training and industry-leading work on mental health at sea.
The partners have also responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by implementing Sailors’ Society’s ‘Ship Connect’ service. Unlike any other on the market, this unique initiative takes helpline support to another level, with welfare staff proactively contacting ships to check on crew rather than simply waiting for a crisis call to the helpline.
Johan explains: “In these difficult times, the helpline services we offer go far beyond waiting for seafarers to reach out to us. Through the Ship Connect service, we actively communicate with crew while they are at sea to check on their wellbeing. It helps seafarers to connect and talk about their own worries, while also giving an opportunity to express any concerns about a crewmate’s wellbeing in a confidential environment. The emphasis is on us reaching out and not merely waiting to hear from distressed seafarers.”
For companies wanting to further support their crews, Sailors’ Society has a multitude of crew welfare solutions available under Wellness at Sea, including a new, free 27-week Wellness at Sea Awareness Campaign, and can develop bespoke packages to fit individual needs and budget.
The charity has seen a marked increase in companies wishing to partner on Wellness at Sea as the shipping industry continues its response to the global pandemic.
Johan Smith added: “Looking after the wellbeing of your crew has never been more important. The coronavirus pandemic has imposed huge stress onto the maritime industry and the seafarers who keep it going. Extended contracts have led to seafarers feeling exhausted and worried about their families back home. Many are also anxious about their future job security, or where the next contract will come from.
“Shipping companies are investing in good crew welfare now, to show their commitment to their workforce and help their businesses successfully navigate the fallout of the crisis. Our Wellness at Sea programme provides the tools to help crew – and company – to thrive.”