ESTABLISHED maritime entities have joined forces to build a digital platform aimed at improving the emotional wellbeing of the world’s 1.7m seafarers.

The Safebridge CrewCare app – jointly developed by volunteer group Container Shipping Supporting Seafarers, maritime EdTech company Safebridge, data analytics company Motion Ventures, and the Universities of Manchester and Plymouth – encourages seafarers to open up about their feelings and thoughts to mitigate the risk of depression and suicide.

In 2017, the UK P&I Club revealed that suicide was the top cause of seafarers’ deaths, accounting for 15% of all fatalities at sea.

Professor Capt. Ralph Becker-Heins, CEO, Safebridge, said, “Safebridge recognises seafarers as the global maritime industry’s beating heart, without whom international trade would grind to a halt.

“Whether it is with our #BeSafe campaign, our series of interviews giving seafarers a louder voice, or now with the CrewCare app, we continue to support our seafarers.

“This latest solution is the next logical step towards a future where every single seafarer is able to more closely interact with those ashore, taking greater care of his or her wellbeing.”

Commenting on the combined expertise and synergy of the organisations involved in the development, Emmanolia Kolias, global sales leader, Safebridge, said, “Each organisation participating in this project collectively applied its knowledge, expertise, and capabilities to contribute to the CrewCare app’s vision and success.

“As a result, CrewCare makes it possible to create a real-time connection between crew managers and their seafarers, offering the level of support that goes far beyond career development.”

The app facilitates crew managers’ ability to monitor the status of the seafarers’ well-being, general health, and COVID-19 risks but also gives them the power to take immediate action and offer direct support to those in need.

The app incorporates a professionally qualified questionnaire based on techniques medical practitioners use to make decisions when presented with a patient’s symptoms. An algorithm rates the multi-choice answers given to rate the mood of the seafarer from 1 (low risk) to 10.

If a user scores 9 or 10, then that person is identified, and actions can be taken by the ship management company to mobilise appropriately qualified personnel in support of the individual.

It also features an integrated communications function and affords access to the 24-hour International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network helpline SeafarerHelp.