The COVID-19 pandemic shows no sign of abating and continues to affect seafarers’ mental health and wellbeing worldwide. Recognisng the crucial need to provide sufficient support to help seafarers to manage during this crisis, BIMCO has seen an upsurge of many organisations stepping up collaborating with leading mental health providers to implement and provide better and immediate assistance to the seafarers. For example, Vikand in collaboration with Inmarsat, the mobile satellite company and software platform provider, FrontM, to provide a free COVID-19 video call service with a trained health professional. BIMCO also sees more awareness being brought forward by authorities, e.g. the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, where emphasis is on the need to manage seafarers’ health and mental well being more effectively in order to achieve better outcomes. This could come in the form of having better support being provided by shore-based management and flag States providing shipowners with effective advice on practical measures to be taken as required by the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006.
BIMCO launched an information page on seafarers’ mental health page in June 2020. The information page is now updated with additional resources, highlighting the above assistance. BIMCO highly recommends that members use the information and also inform their seafarers of this availability for their exclusive use.