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20/9/2017 10 Simple Things That Make Seafarers Happy On Board Ships

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By Shilavadra
48 Bhattacharjee | In: Life At Sea | Last Updated on May 27, 2017

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The merchant navy is a rewarding career. However, more than that, it is also a decentralized career. For
the lack of finding a better word, the idea behind terming it decentralized is the fact that seafarers are far
away from the action of everyday interactions and social milieu associated with the average workplace.
Long periods away from the touch of a loved one, the voice of ones near and dear ones, the late night
barrage of texts and phone calls with a partner, a planned night out with friends etc. are the things that
seafarers sacrifice for a career that is so romanticized by the general populace.

Owing to its manifestation in popular culture, the outsider tends to ignore the extreme monotony and
boredom that might set in with regard to a seafarers life on board. It is at time such as that, which we turn
to the limited range of options that make us happy on board. As opposed to what one might imagine, a
shore leave doesnt alleviate all our problems pertaining to the tough, precise and monotonous life on
ships. No, it is not like in Captain Phillips wherein our everyday lives are a projection of the adrenaline
packed drama that ensues in the film; xit is in fact, much like the workplace on shore, a day of regular
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responsibilities with a dash of excitement thrown in multiple times! It is indeed a very high-pressure job,
simply because of the value of the cargo and lives and the cumulative effect of a whole lot of other things,
which is why the occasional entertainment is more of a requirement than a luxury.
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So what is it that we must go through to keep ourselves happy and sane?! What keeps us seafarers
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and cheerful on board ?

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1. The Internet: On shore, internet has become pretty much a necessity along with food and drinking
water!
15.7KLife without the Internet is uninhabitable for some right? Well, it is a sort of a luxury on board! Yet
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to be implemented on board every vessel (a promulgated suggestion under the MLC), it is something that

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makes and keeps everyone happy. Seeing the face or hearing the voice (or even a text message) of a
loved
15.6Kone after a tumultuous day at work via Skype, while in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, provides

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solace like no other.

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Internet on ship. filigor Fotolia.com

Some ships only have the availability of an emailing system (AMOS Connect), which, although not as
effective as the Internet as a whole, aids in the process of keeping a sailor happy! Seeing a new email
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pop up during the voyage gives us a feeling of unparalleled joy and satisfaction, offering a temporary
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relief to the perennial loneliness. Its a small way of remembering that there are people back home who
miss your presence and think of you. Trust me, in an extremely professional environment such as the
ship, a touch of personal gesture, although virtual, works wonders.
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2. The Satellite Telephone: If you recognize the INMARSAT satellite telephone code on your mobile,
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drop whatever NOW!
youre doing and take that call! It is not a device we use to make routine calls to inform
everyone that were all right or to use it for frivolous conversation; instead, a sailor only makes a call

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20/9/2017 10 Simple Things That Make Seafarers Happy On Board Ships

when hes either really happy about something, or needs the support of a loved one. Either way, it is one
of the biggest outlets for a seafarer outside the company of his shipmates. The calls are expensive and
should never be taken as a regular ping to chitchat!

Being a navigating officer working on the bridge, I personally see everyone that comes by to make a call.
Most leave the bridge with an incredible smile on their face! Almost all of the time, after a phone call, the
person normally waits around to talk to us officers on the bridge, clearly showing a marked increase in
joy. And when it is time for the festivals, it is a sight filled with emotion and happiness and longing. So
yes, the telephone still remains the number one derivative of happiness onboard.

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Credits: lunamarina/wikipedia.org
3. The Recreational Room: This is the college/boarding room common room we all grew up with!
Equivalent to the airport lounges after a hard tenure of travel, this little bit of real estate is where we
congregate for a prolonged session of debate, films, and general tomfoolery! Be it a tea break during
work hours, or the usual accepted time of sitting together post dinner; a well laid out smoking/recreation
room keeps the sailors in binding on an everyday basis. This is where the films, music and other visual
entertainment is stacked, bringing together seafarers of different ranks to sit together through a few
hours. This is also where the cards are played, sports tournaments are planned and ideas are hatched,
and, if the company policy allows, alcohol is consumed. Therefore, a smoking room that is well stacked
with films, books, music, preferably a good gaming device and other such similar paraphernalia, is bound
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to keep every
GET seafarer happy.
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4. Parties: The ubiquitous parties on board are the sorts of thing every seafarer loves. Be it Christmas,
New
15.7KYear, someones birthday or maybe just a good day; a good party on board makes each and
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everyone happy. Be it the meat that is barbecued to perfection out in the open while the ship cuts through

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the Atlantic/Pacific breeze or the loud blast coming out of the speakers to which every sailor dances his
heart
15.6Kout- the party is the time when camaraderie and mutual affection reaches an all new high! Apart

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from the officer on watch (who HAS to keep away from the pleasantries due to obvious responsibility,
along with the Captain and the Chief Engineer), it is a given that almost everyone lets their hair down in
those
32 few hours. And do not judge us; it is not your average party out at night on shore, dressed sharp

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and hair gelled to the tip, reeking cologne all over! No, this is another grade; one of outlet and general
revelry.
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5. Sleep: No seafarer can ever deny that the most prized asset in the arsenal is a sound, long sleep!
Overworked most of the times and in need of some rest, a seafarer looks forward to the time when he
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can go back to his cabin after a hard day/night at work for some rest and recuperation. Those who work
onboard will know most of the times, going to the cabin inadvertently means going off to sleep (unless
there are more pressing matters at hand). Frankly speaking, there is barely any energy and/or desire left
to put on a film or to read a book for the after hours. Most of the times, a trip to the smoking room after
the watch/deck work is just a precursor to doze off gradually into a few hours of bliss!

6. Appreciation for good work: In an increasingly professional work environment wherein human
relationships take a backseat, a few words of appreciation can be a huge encouragement to an
individual. It is not really necessary that it involves grand words of praise; however, a simple thank you
or good job can go a long way in making seafarers feel the work they did was of immense value to
someone else, thereby automatically increasing eagerness to work and efficiency in work.

7. Bonuses/Perks: We as human beings, seafarer or not, are tuned to accepting reward in the right
spirit. Necessarily not monetary at all times,
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any form of reward increases output and is almost always
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little extra in the month end allotment, or something from the side of the charterers
always makes a seafarer feel involved in the processes of the company. Quite logically, appreciation
combined with perks definitely ups the allegiance of an individual to his company in terms of work as well
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as loyalty.

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Timely Sign-off and Shorter contracts: Ask any veteran in the field of the merchant navy, and he will
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tell you that the practice of timely sign off is a sign of a good company to work for. An employer, who puts

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the interest of a seafarer, especially when it involves his long due visit home, surely signifies great work
ethos.
15.6K The topic of shorter contracts also falls under the same purview, for short contracts ward off

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negative thoughts on behalf of the seafarer such as counting days to go home, when will the vessel be
alongside etc. Timely Sign-off is a matter of concern of every seafarer. Just like other humans, seafarers
also32have made plans and given commitments to their loved ones. Respecting the promises they have

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kept is all a seafarer asks for the shipping companies and owners.

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9. A Day Off: A luxury that is not applicable to maritime professionals, a day off on board is something
that Email
brings with it immense joy and anticipation. A rare occurrence onboard, an off day gives most
seafarers a much-required day away from work and responsibilities. Waking up late and lazing around in
the cabin all day are small pleasures that come by once in a while and end up as a major refreshment of
the body DOWNLOAD
and mind for theNOW!
seafarer.

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10. Good Food: Weve all read the quote The way to mans heart is through his stomach. Well, it
definitely holds strong on board. Seeing a good meal laid out on the table gives every man immense joy.
And what sailor wouldnt be happy with a steaming plate of freshly prepared food right before/after his
watch!

Though the above mentioned points sound extremely simple in todays world, it comes with great surprise
that many merchant vessels still lack the bare necessitates and rights of the seafarers. We receive
several complains from seafarers regarding lack of quality food on board, unhygienic and poor
accommodation facilities, no or negligible recreational activities, lack of sleep due to extra working hours
and overtime, untimely remuneration and sign-offs etc. In such conditions, proper availability of even such
simple things seem heavenly to seafarers.
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All in all, merchant navy doesnt spare us of the troubles of workplace stresses. Finding joy in the small

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and unique pleasures is what keeps each one of us strong, miles away from home.
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Over to you

What
32 do you think truly makes a seafarer happy on board ships?

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Lets know in the comments below.
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About Shilavadra Bhattacharjee
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Shilavadra Bhattacharjee works as deck officer on board merchant vessels. He is a prolific
reader and also likes to record his arbitrary thoughts on paper. He believes in sharing
knowledge
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Comments

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20/9/2017 10 Simple Things That Make Seafarers Happy On Board Ships

Capt Georges Iakovou says


SEPTEMBER 8, 2014 AT 8:54 PM

As captain on board of 14 vessels, (7 product carriers+6multipurpose/bulk caariers+one


cruise) from 1980-1992 I had following policy: Close contact with my crew, my office door was
open rom 07.00-20.00 hrs
Maintain crew appartments/showers etc in excellent clean condition, inspecting them very
often, Clean & conivial environment.
Good and enough food( for foreign crew, menu at their proposal),
Every saturday after the drill, B.B.Q for all crew at the poop, to strength the relations(controled)
15.7K Some evenements as ping pong competition, bangammon/chess with a winning prise(carton of
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cigarettes), so necessary one room for exercises & a ping pong table

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In port, and at sea, when was possible, creation of football and basketball team, Keep their
free time busy

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Cheap communication with their families and on time payments, it is owners and captains
obligation.
32 Fillipino crew liked parties with music to sing.

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Kalpana Desai says
SEPTEMBER 8, 2014 AT 10:29 PM

Excellent inputs in insight mariner !!!

virgilio a patoc says


SEPTEMBER 9, 2014 AT 4:07 AM

Good LEADERSHIP from the captain be on top of the line

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dewulf Stephan says
SEPTEMBER 9, 2014 AT 11:30 PM

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i work for a dredging company for 22 years i started as an A/B and worked myself up to
captain but i want to respons to captain Georges you have the easy job my door is 24 hours
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to help my crew in all possible ways and in dredging work you need the skils to
maneuvre the vessel yourself and not get instructed by a captain who sits in a seat with a big

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sigar ! its easy to sail from point A to point B a little child can do this we dont have time to do
BBQ and play ping pong we the real seaman so guys if you want a real job go ofshore and
dont be a !!!!!! and start earn big money and learn a real job

Richard says
SEPTEMBER 10, 2014 AT 3:55 AM

The internet and the satellite telephone? lol


15.7K When I was at sea all you had were telegrams and HF phone calls.
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SAMSON AMOS says
SEPTEMBER 10, 2014 AT 5:06 PM

f48
please I need an assistance, I wanna join you on boardthanks

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Eugene R. Fortich says


OCTOBER 1, 2014 AT 5:22 PM

Happiness is not what you SAY.


Happiness is what you DO.

liyaqat ali says


OCTOBER 6, 2014 AT 12:46 PM

I like it the sattelite fone


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jone delaibatiki says
NOVEMBER 18, 2014 AT 2:21 AM

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Happiness when you board a vessel with a good pay and also a good working condition

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Tirtha Chakraborty says


NOVEMBER 18, 2014 AT 4:55 AM

Nothing is as important as Internet for a seaman.

15.7K ceprevher a. dacal says


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NOVEMBER 18, 2014 AT 5:05 AM

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personaly i dont want to sail with old filipino master even thou i am a filipino, all of this are not
applicable when they hang around.

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f48 jo says

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NOVEMBER 18, 2014 AT 1:12 PM

4 Its good to read all this. But i think the No. 1 should still be the Omnipotent God or our Divine
Creator.
All this are just secondary for without him, we cannot have attain all the luxury in life incldg.
The technology can offer.

For me once we make him always as our No. 1 Nothing is Impossible!

enrico maanio says


NOVEMBER 18, 2014 AT 5:48 PM

i want to go back.working on board.im 59yrs old please..help me..

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Email enrico maanio says


NOVEMBER 18, 2014 AT 5:54 PM

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my position is chief cook work wid europian.

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Varnalis says
NOVEMBER 18, 2014 AT 9:45 PM

Finaly Providence !

Capt Das says


15.7K NOVEMBER 19, 2014 AT 7:08 AM
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Reduce paperworks and vetting inspection on arrival every port.

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Suren says
NOVEMBER 19, 2014 AT 10:40 AM

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All companies give big lecture on taking care of crew. They fail to take care. MLC is just a
revision for them to keep updated. Do any port state detained a vessel for not having internet
facility. Because MLC worded its clause so carefully to make us fool. We will not be able to get
a small photo attachments of our loved ones in thismodern world. Will this blogs help us or
they had helped on any sector.

syo says
SEPTEMBER 20, 2015 AT 9:02 AM

Communication,recreation and gym facilities. This things is much of a relief and best past time
activities! Strict compliance for this should be monitored

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Lachezar says
Email SEPTEMBER 20, 2015 AT 12:49 PM

I think that in this days of seafarers busyness the first think that could bring happyness to a
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is a good rest, when the fatigue comes over, nothing can makes you more happyer
afcourse the need of some connection between your family and friends is needed

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Rigs says
SEPTEMBER 20, 2015 AT 10:41 PM

The first reason that a crew would be happy on board is when they are dealing in good relation
to senior officers. Seafarer mostly wants to go home soon if their bosses are fucking evil
behavior, bastards, boastful and so on BBQ party is nothing if the atmosphere in the ship is
not good. People will eat for sure but then you will notice that they will all disappear soon in the
party venue. This is a real experience on board.
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Nguyen Vung Tau says
SEPTEMBER 20, 2015 AT 10:43 PM

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All of these are nothing if the behavior of senior officers are ferocious.

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