By Claes Eek Thorstensen, Executive Vice Chairman, Thome Group
Seafarers are key workers and must be recognised as such the world over. The pandemic has brought this into sharper focus due to the disruption caused by various global lockdowns, making life onboard even more stressful than it normally is.
This issue of Thome Group News is dedicated to our onboard colleagues, and we have a variety of articles that look at how they have managed to adapt significant changes to their working lives.
Thome has recognised an increase in stress that could lead to issues on mental health and well-being. With this, we offered support networks for our seafarers with initiatives like free counseling services provided by the International Seafarers Welfare Association Network (ISWAN) which helps them with motivation by having weekly audio and video calls with vessels and engaging crews with group activities like art and photographic competitions.
This issue also highlights the benefits of having diversity onboard and working together and understanding each other’s different perspectives can help with better and faster problem solving and increase innovative ideas and solutions.
This benefits employees as treating people with respect will improve engagement as staff realise that their opinions matter and are taken seriously.
Similarly, trust is also vital between colleagues, and this is highlighted in an article by Capt. Chandran Mahalinggam, Senior HSSEQ Superintendent. He explains how safety is built upon the trust between colleagues and how they interact as a team. Without trust, there is a lack of transparency, and this can lead to wariness and the potential for an increase in human error, which is the leading cause of accidents at sea.
We also touch on some digital improvements which we’ve made to make our lives easier. One such improvement is a portal that gives seafarers access to their personal employee information, including movements, documents, training, and certification, intended joining vessels information, contracts, payslips, and much more. This puts them in complete control of their personal and career information, allowing them to make corrections or updates without relying on face-to-face meetings to implement any changes.
The seafarers are at the heart of everything we do, and we will continue to review and evaluate how we can improve their working lives and conditions, especially during these very trying times we are currently experiencing.