Today is World Maritime Day, which is organised by IMO and brings with it the chance to think about the importance of seafarer wellbeing, shipping safety, maritime security and the marine environment.
The theme for 2021 is "Seafarers: at the core of shipping’s future", which reflects a clear need to raise awareness of seafarers' vital role in world trade and increase their visibility.
As per this year’s theme, the IOMSR believes that the safety of seafarers is paramount, particularly in the current climate and the challenges which have come with it, including Covid and travel restrictions, which have resulted in loneliness and working long hours.
IOMSR Director Cameron Mitchell says: “The devastation caused by coronavirus has brought seafarer mental health into sharp focus, and we recognise, on World Maritime Day, the important role we, as a flag state, have to play. In addition, travel restrictions forcing hundreds of thousands of crew members to work beyond their contracts have has had a massive impact on seafarers health - which positioned the wellbeing of seafarers firmly at the centre of the debate.”
It is for precisely these reasons that we wanted to take this opportunity to spread the news about our first ever seafarer welfare app, called Crew Matters.
The free app is now available to all seafarers, not only seafarers sailing on IOMSR flagged vessels. It is dedicated to providing structured support for seafarers. Services available include health, mental health and wellbeing courses, fitness training, including yoga sessions, as well as educational material, pension advice and exchange rates.
Seafarers can log their work and rest hours and there is an SOS function to provide immediate access to ISWAN's Seafarers Help Live Chat. It also includes a Directory of Stella Maris chaplaincy services worldwide and links to services provided by Nautilus International, with details of membership, news, careers and jobs and training opportunities.
Crew Matters recently enabled church masses to be live-streamed to ships, recognising the importance of faith to many seafarers.
Cameron said: “We’re proud of our app, which is a world-first tech platform. While tech has connected people around the world, it also has the power to isolate, so our focus is to get crew members out of their cabins to interact with their colleagues. Seafarers need our support and we’re committed to delivering it.”
Seafarers can download the IOMSR Crew Matters app for free on Google Play and the Apple App store.