A group of maritime organisations have worked together to build a digital platform (CrewCare) that aims to improve the emotional well-being of 1.7 million seafarers in the world.
The Safebridge CrewCare app, launched on 17th February 2021, is jointly developed by volunteer group Container Shipping Supporting Seafarers (CSSS), maritime EdTech company Safebridge, data analytics company Motion Ventures, as well as Universities of Manchester and Plymouth.
The app encourages seafarers to open up about their feelings and thoughts to reduce the risk of depression and suicide. According to CSSS, the UK P&I Club revealed that suicide was the top causes of seafarers’ deaths, accounting for 15% of all fatalities at sea in 2017.
Safebridge CEO, Ralph Becker-Heins said:
“Safebridge recognises seafarers as the global maritime industry’s beating heart, without whom international trade would grind to a halt. Whether it is with our #BeSafe campaign, our series of interviews giving seafarers a louder voice, or now with the CrewCare app, we continue to support our seafarers. This latest solution is the next logical step towards a future where every single seafarer is able to more closely interact with those ashore, taking greater care of his or her well-being.”
Global Sales Leader of Safebridge, Emmanolia Kolias commented on the development of the app:
“Each organisation participating in this project collectively applied its knowledge, expertise, and capabilities to contribute to the CrewCare app’s vision and success.
“As a result, CrewCare makes it possible to create a real-time connection between crew managers and their seafarers, offering the level of support that goes far beyond career development.”
The app enables crew managers to monitor the status of the seafarers’ well-being, general health, and COVID-19 risks. It also gives them the power to take immediate action and offer direct support to those in need.
Kolias added: “We all know that Seafarers’ access to support is critical, and this app allows crew managers to precisely achieve that and ensure that seafarers make it home safely,”
The app incorporates a professionally qualified questionnaire based on techniques medical practitioners use to make decisions when presented with a patient’s symptoms. An algorithm rates the multi-choice answers given to rate the mood of the seafarer from 1 (low risk) to 10.
If a user scores 9 or 10, then that person is identified, and actions can be taken by the ship management company to mobilise appropriately qualified personnel in support of the individual.
Philip Eastell, CSSS founder and the driving force behind the CrewCare initiative, said:
“Where concern exists there is now an opportunity for seafarers to get help. The app is a very low-key diagnostics tool set up to ensure that those seafarers struggling to cope receive the care they need. We are hoping that the shipping lines will recognise the importance of this application,”
It also features an integrated communications function and affords access to the 24h International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN) helpline SeafarerHelp.
ISWAN CEO, Roger Harris said:
“We welcome this application and the many benefits it will bring to seafarers and ship managers alike, especially during the current crew change crisis when many seafarers are suffering from increased anxiety and stress.”