Most ship workers have mental health issues, a seafarer claims


The Mission to Seafarers, Lagos, a maritime organization, has revealed that the majority of ship workers experience certain psychological issues.

This information was disclosed by the group’s vice president, Emmanuel Ilori, in a statement that AF24NEWS was able to get on Thursday.

The VP also said that more than 4,000 ships make port calls in Lagos each year.

According to Ilori, Nigeria deserves to have a significant voice in international maritime matters because it is a large maritime power.

The welfare of international sailors should be a top priority, he continued.

“Nigeria, as a major seafaring nation with seaports, deserves to play a major role in global maritime affairs. With over 4,000 ships calling at Lagos ports annually, the welfare of international seafarers that ensure the sustenance of our trade should be a major concern that will enhance Nigeria’s international status.”

Ilori said that because of the nature of their employment, most sailors experience mental health issues.

According to him, there are more than 1.5 million mariners of different nationalities working around the world.

“They live in a confined environment and they travel long distances. For instance, a ship that comes to Nigeria will take like five months and in addition to that they live in that environment for a long time. These are challenging and tasking issues. And don’t forget they are not in contact with their families. So all these challenges put psychological pressure on the seafarers and then their general threshold is very small. So they develop psychological problems.”

Several of the mariners, he claimed, were unable to receive assistance at sea.

“They are hopeful to get it (help) at port and even at the port. They may not even get the support facilities and that is where Mission to Seafarers comes in. When we go to the sea, we look at them if they do need support. We have trained supporters who attend to them.”

He also said that the seafarer’s happiness index is very low.

“There is what we called seafarers’ happiness index that we do globally to access the happiness of seafarers. And we found out that on this index, it is very low. So, what we are doing is to work with government, shipowners and the community to make sure that whatever that is causing their low happiness is addressed,” he stated.

He continued by estimating that there were more than 1.5 million mariners worldwide.

“These are men and women who often spend up to nine months far away from their family, friends and loved ones. This can often lead to loneliness and mental health issues, with limited access to the internet onboard ships.

According to Ilori, who is also a shipowner, seafarers are responsible for transporting over 90 per cent of the world’s goods and fuels.

He described them as essential workers who often go unrecognised by the general population.

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