Seafarers are sharing their maritime voyages across social media to mark the Day of the Seafarer 2022.

The maritime world is changing, fast. Ships are now operating greener, with greater digitization, and with more diverse crews. As the lifeblood of the shipping industry, seafarers are at the heart of this evolution, implementing new regulations, learning new skills and adopting safer, more efficient working practices. As the world’s merchant fleet traverses the oceans, the crews onboard these ships continue their career journey.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is focusing on seafarer’s experiences, voyages and journeys as the theme of the 2022 Day of the Seafarer, drawing attention to how the onboard working environment continues to change. This focus aligns with UN Sustainable Development Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.

This year’s Day of the Seafarer theme – “Your voyage – then and now, share your journey” – invites seafarers across the globe to share images and information about what truly resonates with them – whether a positive experience or challenging circumstances.

IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim said: “Every seafarer’s journey is unique. Yet many of the challenges and opportunities are shared.  On this Day of the Seafarer, we can look to the future. Seafarer’s voyages are changing – in the form of new technologies and equipment, increasing use of alternative fuels and further responsibilities for a greener and more sustainable future for the industry and for the marine environment.”

As a former seafarer himself, the Secretary-General is aware that maritime journeys can extend beyond being at sea to a career on land, and he encourages all seafarers – past and present – to be a part of the event. “I invite you to share photos from your first voyage and your most recent voyage on social media. We want to see how far you have come in your journey and celebrate your progress.”

Ongoing challenges

IMO Secretary-General Lim added, “On the International Day of the Seafarer on June 25th, it is important that we all remember the challenges that seafarers have faced over the past two years and are still facing, including difficulties to effect crew changes, lack of designation as key workers and inability to access medical care and vaccines.

“I also remain concerned about the seizure of vessels engaged in legitimate trade outside established legal processes. I urge all Member States to use relevant diplomatic channels to resolve their differences so that international shipping and especially seafarers are not unduly impacted. As I have said in the past, seafarers and shipping should not become collateral victims of larger political issues. The welfare of seafarers and the need for international shipping to move freely and unhindered is critical to the continuous operation of global supply chains, for the benefit of all peoples of the world.”

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said, “Seafarers worldwide have faced immense challenges stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic — including contracts extended long beyond their expiry dates and maximum periods of service, and challenges related to vaccinations, medical care and shore leave. This year’s theme — “Your Voyage, Then and Now” — is an opportunity to recognize the vital role seafarers play, and look to the future.

“Above all, this means listening to seafarers themselves. They know better than anyone their needs and what this industry needs to do to address key challenges. This includes the expansion of social protection, better working conditions, addressing the crew-change crisis, adopting new digital tools to enhance safety and efficiency, and making this industry greener and more sustainable,” he continued. Read the full speech here.

Join the campaign:  

As in previous years, the 2022 Day of the Seafarer event will predominantly be held on social media to draw attention to the contribution that seafarers make to shipping and world trade.

Participants in the campaign can use the hashtag for 2022 ‘#SeafarerJourney’ or the regular hashtag ‘#DayOfTheSeafarer’ and join in the conversation.

Seafarers are invited to post two photos using the hashtags: one of their first voyage and another of their most recent voyage. We would also like to know what has changed during your maritime voyage. Is shipping greener? Is the technology better? Are you more skilled? What have you learnt?

Supportive organizations, shipping companies and port organizations are also invited to show their appreciation for seafarers by resharing their posts or using the hashtags and discussing the importance of seafarer journeys.

Members of the public are encouraged to post about the many ways in which seafarer journeys benefit their lives (e.g. bringing them food, electronics, medicines, etc.) using the same hashtags.
Source: IMO

On June 25, the shipping industry observes the Day of the Seafarer. It could not come at a better time, as seafarers continue to face systemic welfare challenges. The war in Ukraine and the ongoing pandemic have made conditions even more difficult for many.

While the Day of the Seafarer is primarily intended to celebrate the gallant efforts of men and women in shipping, it is also a day to advocate for solutions to the many challenges they face.

The UAE took this direction in marking the day. Led by the Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, Hon. Suhail Al Mazrouei, he launched a new initiative named “Salmeen” to guide the UAE’s government efforts to prioritize welfare of the seafarers.

The key pillar of the initiative is to open the door for seafarers to get the support they need. This will entail identifying and removing physical and social barriers through cooperation between public and private sectors. It also includes a package to arrange medical care for seafarers, as well as maritime training and education opportunities.

“When we talk about the shipping sector in the UAE, we must recognize the influential role the UAE plays in the global maritime scene. Launching the ‘Salmeen’ initiative confirms our continuous support for seafarers and reflects our firm belief in the active role they play towards strengthening UAE as an unparalleled global maritime hub,” commented Suhail Mazrouei.

This initiative builds on the “Our Blue Army Scheme” launched by the Ministry in August last year. It gave seafarers the same status as front-line health workers, guaranteeing access to Covid-19 vaccines and allowing crew replacements when required.

Currently, UAE receives more than 21,000 ships annually and handles over 17 million containers at the country’s ports each year. As a busy maritime hub it is also a common jurisdiction for vessel abandonment, a major challenge for seafarer welfare, according to data compiled by RightShip.


In a report released today, the International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN) details the findings from phase two of its Social Interaction Matters (SIM) Project and provides actionable guidance and recommendations for shipping and ship management companies, seafarers and other maritime stakeholders.

The project is funded by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) and the Red Ensign Group (REG), who sponsored the project with the help of Trinity House and funding from the UK Government.

The SIM Project’s phase two research gathered first-hand accounts from the seafarers of 21 vessels from 10 different shipping companies operating worldwide, and examined the data to explore the impacts, drivers and barriers of social interaction whilst living and working on board. The research took place between November 2020 and January 2022 and coincided with the COVID-19 pandemic, the pervasive influence of which is demonstrated and explored throughout the report.

Dr Kate Pike, the SIM Project’s Research Lead, said: ‘The project has shown that social interaction promotes mental and physical health and provides an essential outlet for seafarers from their work on board. It enables all crew to get to know each other better which supports a caring environment that helps to develop a strong safety culture where people look out for each other. Social interaction and activities are not just pleasurable pastimes, they are a necessity that should be fully supported by shipping companies and strong leadership on board and ashore.’

The findings highlight the importance of engaged and visible leadership both on board and ashore, to support and encourage crew participation in any social activities. Vessels in the SIM trials that supported their crew in this were able to mitigate the effects of long hours, numerous port calls and other factors that otherwise lowered mood. The report also states that more clearly established boundaries are needed between work and rest time on board.

From these findings, along with those from the project’s phase one, ISWAN has developed a set of actionable guidance and recommendations for shipping and ship management companies, seafarers and other maritime stakeholders to improve opportunities for crew to socially interact. These are designed to help promote a varied programme of social events, tailored to different crew needs and diversities, and different voyage plans and vessel specifications.

Among the report recommendations is the appointment of a voluntary Social Ambassador on board every vessel to help convene social activities and promote crew engagement. ISWAN also recommends free WiFi services for all crew to stay in touch with family and friends and access online entertainment; and frequent review of recreation facilities to ensure they meet the crew’s preferences and needs.

The report concludes that further research is needed into the effects of fatigue and tiredness, and their impact on seafarer mental health. ISWAN plans to continue the development of SIM as a long-term project for seafarer wellbeing, starting with a controlled evaluation of the effectiveness of the project’s guidance and recommendations which ISWAN hopes will lead to its establishment as a continuing resource for the sector.

Georgia Allen, ISWAN’s Project Manager, said: ‘I am so pleased to be able to share this SIM Project phase two report, which is the product of much commitment from all those involved. Much like the lives of the seafarers we sought to understand more about, phase two of the project has resulted in a richly diverse and fascinating body of data which has laid the foundations for much more work to come. ISWAN is committed to the long-term improvement of the lives of seafarers and their families worldwide, and improving seafarer wellbeing through greater understanding of the importance of social interaction and its increased facilitation is central to this and we will continue to work to promote the mission of SIM long into the future.’

Katy Ware, Director of UK Maritime Services & Permanent Representative of the UK to the IMO, Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), said: ‘I am delighted to see the continuation of this vital work in recognising the importance of social interaction to the wellbeing of seafarers. It is important to see the recommendations from phase one put into action and we have already seen that small steps can have huge impacts, such as having a designated wellbeing ambassador on board.

‘There are many aspects of life at sea that cannot change, but this research shows that wellbeing is not one of them and it can be improved by strengthening social interaction, particularly alongside organisational commitment.’

ISWAN’s Social Interaction Matters (SIM) Project Phase Two Report can be downloaded here.

For more information about the report and/or the project, please contact Georgia Allen, Project Manager at ISWAN, at

The Seafarers Happiness Index is a means of engaging with crews on merchant ships to discuss the key challenges facing them, and
to gauge their levels of satisfaction.

This is an ongoing study measuring how happy people are about the various elements of their working life gives a picture of the real successes
and problems within seafaring.

It also provides learning opportunities to improve and develop.

The Index is made up of a standard set of ten questions and these cover key areas, such as mental and physical health, diet, rest, workload,connectivity, training, access to shore leave, as well as relationships at home and on board.

These are answered anonymously, and seafarers are encouraged to complete their answers during each trip.

The latest Index showed a seafarer happiness result of 6.69 in the first quarter of 2018, a figure averaged across the key areas of seafarers’
work lives.

This shows a rise from the previous Index report- and so we see that seafarer happiness is on the up.

If you are lucky to have a good chief cook,
you will be happy. But if not, all crew will be
affected when performing their duties.

Harmony and unity on board is very
crucial in the safety and success of
operations on the ship.

To ignore or downplay the value of happiness in seafarers is to trample on the concept of these very human

Seafarers prefer a happy life to an unhappy one, hopefully we can all agree on that much, and we need
to be able to make life as happy as possible, within the realities of what it is to be a seafarer.

Female seafarers actually marked
themselves lower than the
general average this time around.
Which was a significant shift from
previous Seafarers’ Happiness Index Results


Deck crew and officers tended to
be happier than their engineering
counterparts – and the middle
cohort of ranks, second officer
and third engineer, chief officer
and second engineer, performed
better. They recorded the highest
results across the board.





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