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Suicides at sea go uncounted as crew change crisis drags on: Australian Maritime Safety Authority by Declan Bush February 23,2021   |  Source: Llyod's List

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority wants the Maritime Labour Convention amended to make reporting of suicides mandatory. Ports and shipping companies could do more to help their seafarers through the crew-change crisis — and prepare them better for the next unforeseen such levels of disruption.

Maritime charities fear the toll of the lockdown measures on seafarers’ mental health and there are anecdotal reports suicides have risen in 2020. But with no central database to count them, shipping is left in the dark.

The crew change crisis may well be increasing the numbers of seafarers taking their lives at sea. But there is no central database, so nobody knows for sure.

Charities and aid groups said there were anecdotal reports suicides have increased as the crisis drags on, with seafarers trapped either at sea or on land without income.

International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network executive director Roger Harris said the number of reported suicides, and instances of seafarers calling Iswan about suicidal thoughts, had “roughly doubled” from about 12 in a normal year to 25 since March 2020.

But since there is no hard data, “no one really knows the extent of the problem”.

Mr Harris said the causes of deaths at sea could be hard to

 

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