“The mental health and well-being of seafarers must be taken care of” Seafarers News

Capt. Shawn Sequeira, Commercial Operations Manager, Triton Navigationrecently won the prestigious “Top 20 Under 40” in the marine industry at the awards ceremony organized by Seatrade Maritime Logistics Middle Eastheld in Dubai.

“The mental health and well-being of seafarers must be ensured” 1

Speaking to Maritime Gateway, Captain Shawn Sequeira discusses the transformation in the tanker market following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, digitization on board shipping lines and the challenges seafarers face

After the Russia-Ukraine war, there were numerous changes in the global oil supply chains. What impact has this had on the tanker and bulker market? What is the current situation in terms of demand/supply and charter rates?

The war between Russia and Ukraine has had a significant impact on global oil supply chains and, consequently, on the tanker and bulker market in the shipping industry. The specific impacts and current scenario in terms of demand/supply and charter rates are as follows:

The impact on charter rates in the tanker and bulker market can be influenced by changes in demand and supply. When demand exceeds supply, charter rates can increase as companies compete for available vessels. Conversely, an oversupply of ships can result in downward pressure on charter rates due to lower demand.

The conflict has disrupted established trade routes for oil exports and necessitated adjustments in transportation logistics and trade patterns. This disruption can lead to shifts in demand for tankers and bulk carriers as new routes are established and existing ones modified. Several ports in Ukraine remain closed as ships calling at these ports and the surrounding areas do not receive additional war risk coverage through the ship’s hull under the authors. Ships had to be diverted, causing delays in the flow of cargo.

Many green fuels such as hydrogen and ammonia are being tested and even brought to market. What is the demand for conventional fuels, HSFO, LSFO in this scenario? How do these changed fuels affect the operating costs of shipping companies?

The transition from traditional fuels to green fuels poses challenges for shipping companies. Retrofitting existing ships or investing in new ships capable of using alternative fuels requires significant capital investment. In addition, green fuel availability and infrastructure may be limited in certain regions, affecting their feasibility and cost-effectiveness.

Demand for traditional fuels, particularly HSFO, is declining due to increasing environmental regulations and a global push towards decarbonization. LSFO, on the other hand, remains in demand as it meets current sulfur emission limits and serves as a transitional option for shipping companies.

Until global shipping has sufficient alternative fuels available globally, the industry will continue to rely on traditional fuels and use them in conjunction with green fuels.

They have traveled on different ships. What challenges do seafarers face on board a ship?
Today, seafarers often spend long periods at sea away from their families and loved ones. This isolation can lead to feelings of loneliness and homesickness, and can have a negative impact on seafarers’ mental health.
Furthermore, during the Corona period, seafarers were not allowed to board or disembark the ship, let alone go ashore, which had a serious impact on seafarers’ mental health.

With the advent of internet onboard, seafarers were able to communicate more frequently with loved ones, but it also impacted them by spending less time with their onboard colleagues.

As a captain, what are the biggest failings you have noticed in ship management and in the management of seafarers?
Lack of mental health support: Mental health and well-being are vital to the overall well-being of seafarers. However, ship management sometimes overlooks or does not adequately address seafarers’ mental health needs, leading to increased stress, isolation and potential mental health problems. Many seafarers, including shipboard officers, also do not come forward to tell the companies they are facing depression, loneliness and other mental health issues, fearing they will not be rehired.

Onboard rest violations – Personnel onboard and maritime leaders ashore must address the major issue of onboard rest violations, which are far too common and cause undue stress for sailing personnel.

Inadequate environmental management: This can include improper disposal of waste, non-compliance with emission regulations, or insufficient implementation of environmental protection measures.

In several forums, industry leaders have raised concerns about the lack of digitization on ships and seafarers have to manually manage multiple documents. What is the current scenario of digitization on board ships?

Efforts to digitize shipping in the shipping industry have increased over the last decade and we are seeing more and more positive results. ECDIS – With the introduction of ECDIS there is no longer a need to keep physical paper charts and data, including corrections, are also entered via the onboard electronic system.

Electronic BLs – In an increasingly digitized world, everyone wants to be able to access data and documents online, 24/7 and from anywhere. The Electronic Waybill is an original electronic document that offers a more efficient, secure and sustainable alternative to a complex and costly process. It has the same legal value and reproduces the features of an original paper BL but electronically. No more paperwork, postage costs, delays or disruptions in moving physically important commercial documents between exporters, freight forwarders, banks, importers and other parties. We can now manage the BLs with just a few clicks, which greatly simplifies the transaction process and the shipping of goods.

Electronic documentation: Efforts are being made to digitize and simplify the documentation processes on board ships. Electronic systems are implemented to manage various documents such as crew files, voyage dates, safety certificates, maintenance logs and regulatory compliance documents. In many cases, however, the transition from manual to electronic documentation is still ongoing.

Recently there have been several container fires on board ships and also ship collisions. How can these accidents be avoided? What are the best practices to follow?

Crew training and skills: In accidents at sea, people are the most important factor. Even if the cause is not due to human error, well-trained personnel can definitely reduce the impact of an incident and ensure that it is contained as much as possible. Training should include safety procedures, emergency protocols, navigational techniques, cargo handling practices, and firefighting skills. Regular practice and practice will help solidify these skills.

Using proper navigation practices is essential to avoiding collisions. This includes proper voyage planning, the use of electronic navigation systems, maintaining a lookout, complying with International Regulations for the Prevention of Collisions at Sea (COLREGs) and monitoring vessel traffic.

Fire Safety and Safety: Implementing strict fire safety measures is crucial to prevent container fires. This includes proper storage and securing of cargo, regular inspection and maintenance of container spaces, effective fire detection and suppression systems, and crew training in firefighting techniques.

Regular inspection, testing and maintenance of safety equipment is essential. These include rescue equipment, fire extinguishers, navigation aids and communication systems. Properly functioning equipment increases the likelihood of an effective response in emergencies.

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