Sailors’ Society focuses on positive wellbeing for a rewarding seafaring career

- Prisilla Nadar

Maritime charity Sailors’ Society in partnership with The UK P&I Club conducted a unique wellness conference for maritime colleges in India on 30th September. The conference was designed especially for maritime schools to explore the all-important subject of wellbeing and mental health, with an aim to help prepare cadets for a long and fulfilling career at sea.

Sailors’ Society’s Wellness at Sea conference was titled Positive wellbeing for a rewarding seafaring career. Mr Johan Smith, Programme Manager, Wellness at sea, Sailors’ Society welcomed the august audience and invited Mr Deepak Shetty, IRS, (RTD) former Director General of Shipping and Secretary to the Government of India to give the inaugural address.

In his address, Mr Shetty highlighted both the positive and negative sides of seafaring profession. He articulated, “Seafarers becomes the ambassadors of the country, well paid job, has a sense of professional satisfaction; these are the few positive sides of the profession. Whereas loneliness, rough climatic condition, piracy are the negative side of the same profession.”

According to him training and mentoring should be made mandatory. He suggested that the company should encourage social gathering onboard and build an ecosystem for new comers to feel at ease. He emphasized that one should treat mental illness like any other illness and there should be a clear corporate policy.

Complementing Mr Shetty’s thoughts, Dr Mailini Shankar, Vice Chancellor, Indian Maritime University said “According to a survey, Germany, UK and Italy are the topmost countries for exploring stress among the seafarers.” She gave a brief introduction to occupational risks such as disasters and accidents, piracy impaired treatment options, stress, and communicable diseases. Further she touched upon social wellness, emotional wellness, physical, intellectual and spiritual wellness.

Capt Prashant Ragnekar, COO, Fleet Management India delivered a lecture on Realities of life at sea and Importance of personal wellbeing. Dr Deepti Mankad, Regional Coordinator, Wellness at Sea presented her views on mental health of the seafarers.

Post lunch session witnessed discussion on signs and symptoms and managing mental health by Dr Santosh Loganathan, MD Psychiatrist at National Institute of Mental health and Neurosciences. Capt Dinesh Jairam from Seaspan Ship Management and Mr Umesh Pherwani, Neuro- Linguistic Practioner and author of ‘The Mindswitch’ presented their view on seafaring a way of life and onboard coping skills.

The webinar also featured talks from industry leaders, interactive sessions with the students and practical advice, equipping and empowering participants with awareness and skills that will serve them throughout their seafaring lives.

The conference was sponsored by Fleet Management Ltd and Seaspan Corporation.


(Courtesy: Marex Media)

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