Voice of the crew

New survey aims to gather direct insights from seafarers on concerns and priorities at sea

By Marco Sumitra

RightShip is a maritime due diligence platform with a wide (and growing) range of products and services – all driving towards our vision of a maritime industry that causes zero harm.

At the heart of the maritime industry are seafarers, and at the heart of our work is seafarer wellbeing. We are committed to improving the safety, security, and overall wellbeing of seafarers, who are the lifeblood of the industry and the key to achieving our vision.

This is a vital factor in all our work: promoting high standards of crew welfare is integral to our vetting and inspections services.

In addition, RightShip is committed to decarbonising the maritime industry, which will empower seafarers and improve and help to de-risk the conditions in which they live and work.

We have also collaborated with the Sustainable Shipping Initiative and the Institute for Human Rights & Business to create the RightShip Code of Conduct, a document that sets standards and best practices around seafarer wellbeing across the industry. Following on from this, we have developed the RightShip Crew Welfare Self-Assessment Questionnaire for businesses to benchmark their performances on this vital matter.

The self-assessment has – as of January 2024 – been adopted by 483 companies covering over 10,588 vessels. It covers various aspects of crew welfare, such as fair terms of employment, health and safety, training and development, social and recreational facilities, and seafarer assistance programs.

The assessment has revealed some areas of success and some areas that need improvement in the industry. For example:

97% of the respondents affirm setting crewing levels based on crew wellbeing and safety.

Only 27% of the respondents support providing recreational facilities and Wi-Fi. Fair terms of employment: High compliance, with 94% scoring it as basic, 79% intermediate, and 71% excellent.

Seafarer Assistance Programmes: Room for improvement, with 61% scoring this as basic, 38% intermediate, and 32% excellent.

The assessment also highlights the crucial role of charterers in driving industry progress, as they have the power and responsibility to choose and reward operators who prioritise crew welfare. We are committed to enhancing maritime safety and wellbeing through ongoing improvements to the Self-Assessment Questionnaire and our collaboration with charterers and other partners.

But there is a lot more to do: ship owners, charterers, and other stakeholders must continue to improve and enhance conditions for seafarers globally. This requires a concerted effort, and it can’t be done without hearing and understanding the voices of the seafarers themselves, the people who, every day, keep global trade moving.

That’s why we have launched the ‘Voice of the Crew’ survey, a unique initiative to gather direct insights from seafarers on their concerns and priorities when at sea. The survey aims to understand:

  • What matters most to seafarers on the high seas?
  • What enhances their lives while aboard?
  • What contributes to their happiness?

The survey is open to all seafarers, regardless of their rank, nationality, or vessel type. It is an opportunity for seafarers to share their opinions and experiences, and to have a say in shaping the future of the maritime industry. The survey responses are confidential and anonymous, and no names, vessels, or companies will be disclosed.

We encourage all seafarers to participate, as the survey results will help us (and other organisations) to advocate for the rights and interests of seafarers with key stakeholders, including ship owners, regulators, and non-governmental organisations, and to promote best practices and standards in the industry. The survey results can also be used to improve the Code of Conduct and Crew Welfare Self-Assessment Questionnaire, and to promote and enhance best practices.

We invite all seafarers to participate in the ‘Voice of the Crew’ survey and to make their voices heard. To access the survey, please scan the QR code. It takes about 5 minutes to complete.

Thank you for your time and participation. Together, we can make a difference for seafarers and the maritime industry.

Marco Sumitra is product manager at RightShip.