An Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) funded study suggest the cargo shipping companies to give better support to workers so as to avoid conditions like anxiety and depression.
This also comprises the onboard facilities like internet access, improved accommodation, and recreational activities.
For the purpose of this research, more than 1,500 seafarers attempted a questionnaire about their experiences and interviews were also conducted with a small group of seafarers, maritime charities and other stakeholders.
The unavailability of internet access, long periods away from friends and family, poor accommodation and food are major causes of concern for those working at sea.
According to Professor Helen Sampson, who led the study, said that there is evidence that recent there has been an increase in the psychological disorders among serving seafarers, however more than half (55%) of employers said no policies or practices were introduced to address mental health in a decade.
When questioned in an interview about suffering from mental ill-health, one seafarer said: “Between pressure, workload, no days off and you are a gazillion miles away from home with limited communication, what do you think is going to happen?” Another said: “Three months on land is nothing. You can’t see your kids grow up, you can’t see anything. You are just like an uncle coming and going.”
Professor Sampson, Director of Cardiff University’s Seafarers International Research Centre, based in the School of Social Sciences, said: “It is all too easy for seafarers working out on the deep ocean to be invisible to those ashore. Their remoteness allows for abuse to go undetected. Sometimes seafarers are subjected to bullying and harassment by superiors and colleagues on board. However many employers also mistreat seafarers by failing to provide decent and humane living conditions which promote good mental wellbeing.”