The HRAS Interview: Robert Robinson North of England P&I Club – Seafarers Isolated Despite Greater Connectivity

Seafarers Isolated Despite Greater Connectivity

Robert Robinson (1)

Better digital communication technology can compound isolation problems at sea by reducing social interaction on board. Rather than chat, play games or watch videos with other crew members, it is now all too easy for seafarers to retreat to their cabins with their mobile devices.

HRAS spoke to North P&I Club claims executive Robert Robinson about the club’s recent concerns on potential downsides of greater connectivity at sea.

HRAS: How can greater connectivity be a bad thing for seafarers?

A lack of social interaction on board might mean that seafarers may feel alone and friendless, and this in turn could mean that they have less support for any problems they might encounter either from home or at sea.

Having easy access to family and friends back home is of huge benefit to seafarers. However, sometimes issues at home will cause seafarers anxiety, and this can be exacerbated by having easy access to communications but not being able to deal directly with problems.

A 2005 study from the UK Office of National Statistics lists coal miners as having the highest suicide rate of any occupation and merchant seafarers the second. What has changed over the last decade to make the issues more acute?

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