In these unprecedented times when collaboration is needed more than ever, Welfare Boards offer a practical and cost effective means of supporting welfare services to seafarers during their limited ‘off watch’ time alongside in ports, but why all of a sudden do we need Welfare Boards?
Like any industry, the global maritime sector is constantly evolving; in the main, ships are getting bigger, more specialised and spending longer at sea. Consequently, turn round times in ports are getting shorter and busier. Crews are also getting smaller, more multicultural and higher skills are in demand. Furthermore, technology has transformed communications and the way we live our lives. None more so than in the global maritime sector where seafarers can now keep in contact with their families on a daily basis from more or less anywhere on the planet. However, access to modern communications is not yet readily available or affordable on all ships and technology can prove a ‘double edged sword.’
Even before the pandemic there were concerns about isolation, mental health, interaction with fellow crew members in a multicultural environment and fatigue. So, the need for the maritime sector to collaborate – form Welfare Boards – and help improve the welfare of our seafarers’ when they arrive in port is greater than ever before.
The benefits of bringing together local representatives of Government, Ship Owners, Unions, Ports and Voluntary Organisations in a Welfare Board or Port Welfare Committee is already tried and tested. They do much to promote the provision of shore-based welfare facilities, support welfare providers and help impart the local knowledge seafarers so badly need to maximise their time ashore.
Welfare Boards can and do enhance seafarers lives and, as a bonus, help the sector comply with ILO MLC 2006 4.4 so, contact us if you would like to either support or become involved in our project.