Working at sea is far from easy. It can be inherent with risks and challenges which often take a toll on the health and wellbeing of seafarers. Long periods away from home, working in confined spaces, dealing with high-pressure scenarios and operating in often demanding physical environments can negatively impact the physical, psychological and emotional health of crew.
At AET, we are cognisant of the distinct challenges that our seafaring personnel face and we strive to do all that we can to support the overall wellbeing of seafarers by providing additional resources and support to counter these pressures. In part, our programmes seek to educate seafarers and senior officers responsible for supporting crew on board to understand and identify signs of stress in crewmembers in order to provide appropriate support.
We provide copies of the guide ‘Wellness@Sea’[i], written by an expert clinical psychologist Kevin Menon, to seafarers aboard our vessels and we encourage everyone to talk openly and without fear of retaliation about stress and other issues of physical, mental and emotional health. By talking to peers and management, the aim is that we can work together to find support or solutions. Taking this proactive approach has helped us as an organisation to implement a host of improvements aimed at bolstering overall wellbeing on board, and assisted us to maintain an enviable seafarer retention rate of 94%.
We believe that wellbeing at sea means looking after physical, mental and emotional health. This is why we have invested heavily in providing crew with access to healthy balanced meals, in encouraging our colleagues at sea to exercise mind and body in their downtime and in providing them with comfortable relaxing and entertainment spaces, such as fully equipped gymnasiums and well-furnished cabins. This holistic – mind, body and soul – approach to wellbeing is shown to deliver tangible benefits, to reduce stress and enhance quality of life.
As an organisation dependent on being able to recruit and retain top talent, investment in the wellbeing and happiness of our personnel across the organisation is a priority. We know that poor health and mental wellbeing can manifest itself in many ways, including problems with concentration and demotivation. Understanding and identifying root causes of ill-health or stress is therefore a crucial issue for us. Supporting each other, sharing success and working as a team are also central to our Cultural Beliefs at AET, and underpin who we are, how we work, and what we value as important: our people.
[i] Menon, Kevin , ‘Wellness@Sea’, [Kevin Menon]