Seafarer health and wellbeing initiatives

7th May 2021

The health and wellbeing of seafarers has always been of great importance to Northern Marine.

With the Covid-19 pandemic continuing to cause considerable strain on seafarers and their families, the support and opportunities available to improve their health and wellbeing have never been more important.

At Northern Marine, many new initiatives have been launched over the past year to supplement existing longstanding support.

This has included the formation of a fleet Wellbeing Committee made up of both seafarers and onshore management, the introduction of a specialist wellbeing app and new strategic partnerships with expert external support organisations.

Dhan Swadi, Personnel Director, Northern Marine, explains: “Crew wellbeing is a subject that is particularly close to my heart, and one that we have focussed on considerably in recent times.

“Being an ex-seafarer, I know that seafaring is an occupation that can be challenging during the best of times and being onboard during a global pandemic can create significant stresses for our colleagues at sea.

“The input from the seafarers themselves on a topic of this importance has been hugely valuable and we continue to encourage volunteers in the fleet to come forward to join our committee or make suggestions.”

During the pandemic supportive ship owner clients have allowed operations to increase the bandwidth of internet available onboard vessels, facilitating increased communication with loved ones ashore.

Dhan added: “We have also strategically partnered with organisations that build upon our current seafarer support, including the Mission to Seafarers and The International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN), both charities that have a long association with seafarers and seafaring."

In addition, Northern Marine has recently invested in the WellAtSea app that offers seafarers in the fleet an online wellness program that provides fun, evidence-based solutions to improve physical and mental health. This has included live competitions between seafarers and vessels.

Innes Young, 4th Engineer onboard the Stena Superior tanker said: “When I first heard the concept of WellAtSea I thought it was a great idea. Now it is launched my mind has not changed on the matter.

“The information it provides on different things to do with one’s health and wellbeing is very interesting, and it has encouraged me to track myself using the platform. Being at sea it can be hard sometimes to keep yourself in check given the stress of the job, but the site allows me to track my intakes and exercise to finally try and increase my weight and I think that is great!

“Although some of the challenges are hard, the program has also got me walking outside after work which is something I never did before and I’m glad I now do!”

Aabhash Chawla, 3rd Officer, added: “As the years are passing, my body weight is increasing and my inner me always wanted to reduce my weight and be in good shape, but I lacked motivation to do something.

“With this program, I got motivated, at least to start with light workouts. This self-commitment has encouraged me to go further towards my goal.”

Seafarer health and wellbeing will remain an ongoing priority for Northern Marine’s crew management, with the introduction of additional onboard healthier eating options, and a review of vessel fitness equipment also currently being undertaken.