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Nautilus Social Conditions Survey: Conditions onboard

11 January 2022

The Nautilus Social Conditions Survey 2021 asked members for their satisfaction with various aspects of life onboard. In 2001 and 2010, the highest levels of dissatisfaction were recorded on recreational facilities onboard, shore leave, stress levels, general morale, workload, and pay.

The 2021 survey shows that little has changed in the past two decades, with almost half of respondents (49%) expressing their dissatisfaction with shore leave, followed by stress levels (43%), workload (35%), recreational facilities onboard (34%) and morale generally (33%).

A new category of connectivity for personal use also saw more than a third of seafarers stating that they were dissatisfied (34%).

Lack of skilled/experienced personnel means people not suitable or ready for promotion are being stepped up prematurely Nautilus International Social Conditions Survey 2021

Seafarer conditions

There was also a decline in the proportion of members who felt that the conditions onboard reflected their status as a professional seafarer, reversing what had been a positive trend in recent decades.

Do you believe the conditions on your ship reflect your status as an experienced professional seafarer?

 

2021

2010

2001

1991

Yes

68%

74%

67%

36%

No

32%

26%

33%

62%

Unpaid wages

More than one in 10 seafarers (12%) told us that they have experienced issues with unpaid wages, a deeply concerning figure that it is difficult to imagine occurring in other industries.

The open responses suggest that this problem is particularly notable in the superyacht sector. Further effort could be undertaken in future to explore this issue in more detail.

Minimum crewing

The results show an increase since 2010 in the proportion of members employed as part of smaller crews of one to 15, as well as in the proportion employed in the largest crews of above 40.

It is difficult to determine whether this is reflective of wider changes in the industry, or changes in the structure of the union's membership (e.g. increase in respondents from superyacht and cruise sectors).

How many seafarers are onboard your ship?

 

2021

2010

2001

1–15

32%

28%

34%

16–25

23%

27%

29%

26–40

13%

18%

16%

More than 40

32%

27%

21%

More than a fifth of seafarers do not believe that there are sufficient persons onboard to safely operate their vessel, showing no improvement from when participants were first asked this question 20 years ago.

Do you feel you have sufficient persons onboard to safely operate a vessel?

 

2021

2010

2001

Yes

78%

76%

79%

No

22%

24%

21%

Nationalities onboard

Nautilus members work on vessels with a larger number of nationalities than in previous decades, with the proportion of respondents working with people from just one nationality falling from almost a quarter in 2001 to one-in-10 in 2021. There has also been a notable increase in the proportion of members working with six or more different nationalities onboard.

How many different nationalities are there onboard your ship?

 

2021

2010

2001

1

10%

13%

24%

2

10%

10%

26%

3

15%

22%

19%

4

15%

16%

11%

5

12%

10%

7%

6 or more

36%

30%

13%

When asked what the predominant nationalities were onboard their vessels, most members responded with British and Dutch, followed by Filipino, Indian, Indonesian and Polish.

This was reflected when members were asked about the predominant language spoken onboard vessels, with the vast majority stating English, followed by Dutch, Polish, Tagalog and Russian.


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