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The BMA puts seafarers’ welfare at the helm

While the Day of the Seafarer provides us all with an opportunity to celebrate seafarers and recognise their vital contribution to the lives of the global community, The Bahamas Maritime Authority (BMA) is working hard to ensure that they are valued all year round.  Their importance has been further brought to prominence during the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Authority’s ongoing commitment to seafarers is currently front and centre as The Bahamas has endorsed the IMO and ILO’s resolution on the designation of seafarers as key workers as it relates to COVID-19. At the same time The BMA has been actively engaged in addressing all issues relating to crew repatriation onboard Bahamas flagged ships to ensure compliance with the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 requirements and, more importantly, to safeguard the health and mental wellbeing of seafarers and their families.  The Authority’s efforts in collaboration with the IMO Seafarer Crisis Action Team (SCAT) and other member states has enabled effective actions to be taken to ease the mental burdens on seafarers.

The BMA is also in the process of obtaining data via its Seafarer COVID-19 Welfare Survey which will promote the cause of seafarers and raise awareness of the challenges that they have faced as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. The survey’s aim is to collect information from front line seafarers, specifically focusing on their mental health needs both before and during the pandemic, and subsequently – based on the data analysis – to submit proposals for measures and/or guidance to create a more resilient shipping industry (from a human resource perspective) so as to mitigate and reduce mental health issues for those serving onboard – the seafarers.

The survey is confidential and is open to all seafarers, no matter what flag they are sailing under. 

The BMA would like to encourage any seafarers who have not yet completed the survey to visit the survey page on The BMA’s website and take part.  The electronic survey itself is simple to complete and takes 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.

Captain Dwain Hutchinson, Managing Director and CEO of The BMA, said: “The pandemic has demonstrated the importance of seafarers to the people of the world and The BMA would like to extend its gratitude for the resilience and fortitude shown by mariners in the face of such huge challenges, the like of which we hope never to see again.

“The BMA is determined, through the survey and industry engagement, to hear about the changes that seafarers themselves would like to see in their industry. On this Day of the Seafarer, we join all in the industry and the global community in expressing our appreciation to every seafarer and to say to them that we are listening to their call for a fairer future and we look forward to being able to assist with targeted support.”