POST-TRAUMATIC stress is well-recognised nowadays. Therapy is, we understand, made available to military service personnel, although the press regularly publish stories of soldiers who’ve been discharged and haven’t really had all the help they need. This very week a former British soldier murdered his two children and then killed himself.
The recent International Chamber of Shipping conference in London highlighted the response by shipping companies to traumatic events involving crew members as an area of crew welfare that should perhaps be commanding more attention. Piracy attacks and kidnappings are the obvious topic of the day, but shipboard accidents can similarly produce long term effects.
The crew of the Costa Concordia received a Lloyd’s List award for their actions in helping with the evacuation of the ship. We hope their efforts were similarly recognised by their employer and that they are receiving the support they need. Of course, as many surveys repeatedly point out, crew costs are a serious consideration these days. They always have been but in the scheme of things, insurance is available to provide this kind of support at relatively low cost.
While maritime charities have worked hard with survivors of piracy attacks and their families it would be good to hear from shipping companies to find out what procedures they have in place to care for employees battling post-traumatic stress.
Does your company have a system in place to deal with crew welfare in these situations? Let us know.
We’d also be interested to hear from seafarers themselves who’ve been through these things: Were you supported? Did your employment prospects suffer as a result? Did you have insurance in place?