The current pandemic is no fun for anyone, to put it mildly. Many of us are adjusting to working from home whilst dealing with childcare and other issues. Numerous people have been furloughed with no idea when (and indeed if) their companies will allow them back to work. And of course, more than a few people have lost their livelihoods entirely.
Not to mention that people have fallen seriously ill and, in a shocking amount of cases, lost their lives. A huge debt of thanks must be paid to those staff on the frontline in hospitals, clinics and care homes who are dealing with unprecedented challenges. As well as to all other key workers who are keeping the world turning in these uncertain times.
And that of course includes the seafarers who are keeping global supply chains moving. While staff on the medical and emergency services, retail workers, mailmen and women, refuse collectors and many more are (very deservedly) getting the credit that’s due to them, the current struggles of the seafarer seem to be overlooked somewhat. Perhaps not within the maritime industry, but in the general media not much of the spotlight has been shone upon these hard working men and women.
The challenges faced by seafarers
The seafarer’s life is not an easy one at the best of times and while many genuinely love their life at sea, let’s not forget that it comes with certain challenges – and those challenges have increased considerably now that the majority of crews worldwide are unable to disembark and changeover.
The lockdown isn’t just affecting those of us on land – it’s also affecting those at sea, both on cargo and cruise ships. Many ports have placed a total ban on crew changes and others have tight restrictions in place in a bid to stem the coronavirus. In addition, flights are grounded and therefore companies are unable to get new crew to ships, and crew members that have come to the end of their contract home.
With the situation in constant flux in pretty much every area of our lives (as well as geographically speaking) it’s virtually impossible to make plans – and that includes changeover dates.
Many of the seafarers currently onboard ships have finished their four to nine month contract and are working over with little to no idea of when they’ll be allowed home. And of course, this leaves thousands of seafarers who were lined up to begin a contract stuck on shore and unable to earn money.
Martide’s app helps seafarers stay informed
The ‘not knowing’ is one of the worst parts of the COVID-19 pandemic which is why Martide quickly designed and deployed a mass messaging feature that enables our shipowner and manager clients to jump on any changes and send updates as and when they have them to all of their seafarers.
Martide, and our clients, encourage seafarers to download the Martide mobile app so that they can receive these messages no matter where in the world they are. The app was previously known for being a great place for seaman to line up their next contract without needing to access a laptop or computer. At the moment it’s helping anyone with a registered Martide account to stay that little bit more connected.
The other good news is that after a dry spell of job vacancies, positions are opening up again. That way anyone with the app can jump on and line up their next vacancy and get back to sea just as soon as it is possible.
Meanwhile, if you’re a small to medium sized shipping company and you’d like to learn more about Martide’s maritime recruitment and crew management software solution, please get in touch with us.
Thank you again to any seafarers who might be reading this, and stay safe, all of you, wherever you happen to be.
Eve Jones for Marine Startups