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Danica MD warns shipping companies to offer internet at sea or risk losing crew

2019-12-12 / Number of views:709

ollowing a survey conducted by Danica, a Hamburg-based crewing specialist, the company’s managing director Henrik Jensen has stated that: “Our survey shows that 80 per cent of the seafarers who do not have internet access today would move jobs in order to get it. This is a huge warning to those shipping companies who do not offer crew internet access onboard their vessels.”

“It is our experience that access to the internet is a very important parameter when seafarers are selecting an employer,” he said.

The Seafarers’ Employment Condition Survey 2019, which highlights the importance of internet access at sea for crew was conducted by Danica, a crewing specialist providing largely Eastern European officers to the global shipping industry. Almost 10,000 seafarers took part in the survey, conducted between May and September this year. The majority of respondents were senior officers and more than 50 per cent had 24 months or more experience in their current rank.

  The survey found that:

  • Close to 50 per cent of the crew members responding have free access to the internet

  • 19 per cent of the seafarers (mainly senior officers) get the costs for the renewal of their national licenses paid

  • 15 per cent have medical insurance as a part of their remuneration package

  • Most seafarers (55 per cent) have worked for two or more companies over the past three years

  • However, 45 per cent have had only one employer in the past three years

  • 73 per cent of them would recommend a friend to join the company they last worked for

  • 74 per cent would change jobs for a higher salary

  • Joining a younger vessel and having a shorter contract period are equally important (47 per cent – 45 per cent)

  • 32 per cent would change jobs to get access to the internet

  • Medical insurance and pension are also important parameters.

The survey demonstrated that if crew find a better offer, they are more than willing to move companies. However, despite this workplace fluidity, the survey showed that the majority of seafarers were happy to recommend their most recent company as an employer.

Mr Jensen said: “The high percentage of seafarers willing to recommend their employer is a much higher number compared to engagement statistics for office workers in Germany, for example. In general, the seafarers are happy with their employer, which highlights the fact that there are other factors at the heart of their reasons for changing employer so frequently.”

Reinforcing the benefits of employing a crewing agency to source and place seafarers, the survey showed that 55 per cent of Danica’s database of seafarers has not encountered serious workplace concerns. However, poor treatment does still happen and, among the wider number of respondents (many of whom have not been placed by Danica) the survey found:

  • 15 per cent said they were not paid on time

  • 14 per cent faced violation of rest hours rules

  • 12 per cent felt they had stress

  • 11 per cent were not relieved on time

  • 9 per cent faced shortage of food or drinking water

  • 5 per cent had to pay a commission to get employment

  • 5 per cent worked under unsafe conditions

Mr Jensen commented: “This is unacceptable and it is not surprising that some seafarers are job jumpers.”

Explaining the reasons for conducting the survey, Mr Jensen commented: “In Danica we wanted to better understand the actual conditions Russian and Ukrainian seafarers are employed under, as well as how they act in the employment market. We were keen to hear from all seafarers, not just those placed in their positions by Danica – so our results are representative of the whole of the Eastern European crew market.”

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