SEAFARERS reported unmanageable workloads, disregarded contracts and insufficient food supplies in the latest Seafarers Happiness Index survey.

The quarterly index, published by Mission to Seafarers, fell from 7.1 out of a possible 10 in the first quarter of this year to 6.77 in the second quarter.

Mission to Seafarers, NorthStandard and vessel inspection business Idwal surveyed seafarers with support from Inmarsat to gauge crew satisfaction in ten key areas.

Satisfaction dropped across all areas in the latest reporting period, but especially in areas of general happiness, shore leave and workload.

Participating seafarers claimed that had not set seen working and living conditions fully return to pre-pandemic standards, particularly in terms of crew change, time spent on board, wages, and shore leave.

Seafarers reported a shortage of available drinking water on ships and insufficient food supplies, which the charity attributed to low company meal budgets caused by rising global good prices.

And, according to Mission to Seafarers, some crewmembers reported being paid only once during their time on board, with subsequent periods considered “gaining experience” without payment.

“It is extremely disappointing to read of contracts being altered or disregarded, leading to payment issues, salary cuts, rising taxes, and increased living costs, as well as such fundamental requirements such as good quality meals, access to shore leave and manageable workloads,” MtS secretary general Rev Canon Andrew Wright said.

“All seafarers are fully entitled to expect fair compensation for their hard work, dedication and commitment to keeping international shipping moving,” he said.

“It is incumbent upon all of us to address these issues and make the improvements required to enhance seafarers’ working conditions, wellbeing and job satisfaction.”

Idwal senior marine surveyor Thom Herbert said the company was “deeply concerned” by the findings of the survey.

“Struggles with working and living conditions, crew changes, time spent on board, wages, and shore leave are particularly disheartening,” he said.

“Issues like unmanageable workloads, limited internet access, and inadequate gym facilities further exacerbate hardship but we are particularly troubled to hear of a lack of available drinking water.

“All these findings underscore the urgent need for industry-wide efforts to improve the wellbeing of seafarers.”

And Yves Vandenborn, NorthStandard’s head of loss prevention – Asia-Pacific, said the P&I club was also concerned about the frustrations voiced by seafarers.

“Happiness levels falling across all categories signals a sustained drop in positivity and the responses from seafarers paint a worrying snapshot of the conditions they are experiencing,” he said.

“The club will continue to raise awareness of the key issues in a bid to enhance seafarers’ working conditions, overall wellbeing and satisfaction within the maritime industry.”