A tanker captain posting anonymously on Twitter has revealed concerns about the welfare of his crew in a series of emotional posts about the crew change crisis. The posts, which were made on 23 October and 2 November, drew a significant amount of attention from seafarers and the wider maritime industry.
The 'SecretCaptain', who has previously blogged for Nautilus, found that many of his crew were significantly over their contract time when he joined his vessel, with some onboard for eleven months.
He explained that he had been 'fighting with ever changing rules & regs from the company and authorities to get one crew member home', but could not secure the repatriation of a further sixteen members of the crew.
He said that he 'had plans in place and now those plans are failing because company cannot find new crew members to join ship', and added 'nobody wants to come back onboard because they don’t know when they will get home again'.
The mental health impact of the ongoing situation was raised in the posts, with the captain stating that: 'I feel physically sick when grown adults cry in my cabin because they want to go home,' and arguing that 'the mental health impact of this will be with the industry for years to come'.
In addition to impact of the contract extensions, the captain revealed that the crew had not had any shore leave for over a year, compounding the mental health impact.
The captain also worried about the enhanced risk of accidents caused by the exhausted crew. He said: 'I worry about accidents because they are not focussed on what they are doing.'
Twitter users from across the world have sent messages of support to the captain and his crew, with more than 60 replies and comments being made. The posts have received 184 'retweets' and 245 'likes', meaning that they will have been viewed by thousands of people.
The mental health impact of this will be with the industry for years to come