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Bahamas Maritime Authority to implement research into the mental wellbeing of seafarers

BMA Seafarer COVID 19 Wellbeing Survey

The Bahamas Maritime Authority (BMA) is today announcing a new survey, the Seafarer COVID-19 Welfare Survey, designed to capture and reflect the mental health needs of seafarers around the world during the coronavirus pandemic. This initiative, in collaboration with researchers at the University of Washington School of Public Health, manifests itself as a short, online survey open to any and every seafarer.

Over the course of the last 12 months, The BMA has been assisting seafarers around the world and has observed through countless industry experiences, discussions and webinars that this pandemic has affected every seafarer in a different way – some positively, but in most cases the emotional, physical and mental strain is ever-present, for now and perhaps well into the future.

The aim of the survey is to accurately collect information from front-line seafarers (who will remain anonymous throughout), specifically focusing on their mental health needs before and during the pandemic. The data collected will be analysed and used to understand the challenges our seafarers have experienced in order to develop effective solutions that raise awareness and guide international efforts to improve the livelihoods of those who choose to serve at sea.

The electronic survey itself is simple to complete and will take about 10 minutes. All results will be kept confidential at the University of Washington and respondents can choose not to answer any question with which they are uncomfortable. To maximise uptake, The BMA has approached a number of key industry bodies to support and raise awareness of the initiative, giving as many seafarers as possible the opportunity to participate and contribute towards this endeavour.

Tom Jenkins, Deputy Director and head of The BMA’s Investigations Department, was responsible for implementing the survey. “The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted everyone, but especially those members of our industry who form the backbone of the world economy and extend a lifeline to so many. The impact and repercussions of this pandemic cannot be overstated, and it is our collective responsibility to support these individuals and recognise the significance of their role in society.  We very much hope that the results of the survey will enable the industry to provide the support identified by seafarers themselves as being the most appropriate in these difficult times.”