Bahamas Maritime Authority To Research Seafarers’ Welfare

The Bahamas Maritime Authority (BMA) has announced a new survey, the Seafarer COVID-19 Welfare Survey, designed to capture and reflect the mental health needs of seafarers around the world during the coronavirus pandemic. The authority shared this news in a press release.

According to the BMA, the initiative – done in collaboration with researchers at the University of Washington School of Public Health – manifests itself as a short, online survey open to any and every seafarer.

The aim of the survey is to “accurately collect information from frontline seafarers (who will remain anonymous throughout), specifically focusing on their mental health needs before and during the pandemic,” the BMA said.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted everyone, but especially those members of our industry who form the backbone of the world economy and extend a lifeline to so many. The impact and repercussions of this pandemic cannot be overstated, and it is our collective responsibility to support these individuals and recognize the significance of their role in society,” said Deputy Director and Head of the BMA’s Investigations Department Tom Jenkins.

The data collected through the survey will be analyzed and used to understand the challenges the seafarers have experienced in order to develop effective solutions that raise awareness and guide international efforts to improve the livelihoods of those who choose to serve at sea, the authority said.

“We very much hope that the results of the survey will enable the industry to provide the support identified by seafarers themselves as being the most appropriate in these difficult times,” Jenkins stated.

According to the BMA, the electronic survey itself is simple to complete and will take about 10 minutes. All results will be kept confidential at the University of Washington, and respondents can choose not to answer any question with which they are uncomfortable.

To maximize uptake, the BMA said it has approached a number of key industry bodies to support and raise awareness of the initiative, giving as many seafarers as possible the opportunity to participate and contribute towards this endeavor.

The authority explained that over the course of the last 12 months, it has been assisting seafarers around the world and has observed through countless industry experiences, discussions and webinars that this pandemic has affected every seafarer in a different way. Some positively, but in most cases, the emotional, physical and mental strain is ever-present for now and perhaps well into the future.

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