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Health and safety

Safer waves of support offered for seafarers experiencing sexual harassment

13 February 2020

A Nautilus member has set up a website to support Merchant Seafarers who have experienced sexual harassment or assault.

Safer Waves is tailored to merchant seafarers, acknowledges the unique challenges they may face, and signposts appropriate support and welfare organisations.

The member who wishes to remain anonymous commented: 'The dynamics of a merchant ship can create a perfect environment for abusers to thrive. Young or junior crew might be thousands of miles from home and reliant on senior or more experienced crew for their safety, training and well-being.

'There are those who take advantage of that, and with no immediate law enforcement on hand, and little to no communication with friends and family, their victims are often very isolated.

'Having to continue living, eating and working alongside an perpetrator can also mean that the person experiencing abuse processes the trauma very differently to how they would on land, perhaps blocking it from their mind, or minimising it, until such time as it feels safe to remember.'

Safer Waves is keen to work with existing organisations to raise awareness of the issues and dynamics involved in sexual harassment and abuse at sea, and to help them understand how best to assist seafarers in these circumstances.

The website offers a confidential forum in which to share experiences of abuse.
Members experiencing harassment and bullying are also encouraged to contact the Union in the first instance and speak to their industrial organiser.

Nautilus remains committed to having a dedicated female organiser available who can deal with any workplace issues or provide advice to members who wish to speak to a female representative. Please contact Rachel Lynch by emailing

Nautilus has written and contributed to various resources along with its affiliates and partner organisations which are available to download from our website resources/advice and guidance and partnership publications area. 

These include:

Weblinks to training materials on the bullying and harassment project partners’ websites:


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