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The Seafarers Research Institute Centre (SIRC) at Cardiff University has reported that life at sea is a stressful environment for seafarers with bleak conditions, a lack of comfort, and poor living space; no surprises there then.

It's interesting to look at this when the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) will be coming in force this August. The seafarers interviewed said that working conditions were unsatisfactory, there was too much noise and disruption within their cabins, and that the little job security from contract work caused even more pressure. It was mostly dry bulk, cargo vessels and tankers reported on, and the research showed some enlightening results.

61% of seafarers interviewed said they had no access to the internet while on board ships, making communication to loved ones limited. There were also notably poorer communications facilities for those Chinese seafarers interviewed. This is such disappointing news for us to hear; we know how important good communication is while at sea. Most of the seafarers were satisfied with the size of their cabins, but many could not block out natural light during rest times, and had restricted views from their cabins.

It's something to ponder on; why are over half of these seafarers complaining about a lack of recreational facilities on board? It seems like a staggering result that over 72% reported work-related stress, and even more worrying that 42% complained about a lack of training. It'll be really interesting to see how another survey like this comes back after the MLC comes into play.

For the full report, visit the SIRC website.

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