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Maritime Forum

TOPIC: Social Isolation of Seafarers-On Ships and At Home

Social Isolation of Seafarers-On Ships and At Home 29 Jan 2015 10:39 #4387

  • Sengupta
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A seafarer is a peculiar animal. He is a stranger when he comes ashore and is the odd man out in almost any situation. We cater for the loneliness of the seafarer - that might sum the whole thing up. When you come home you stick out like a sore thumb - the world has gone on without you and it is not going to stop to fit you into it. Often this is part of the loneliness of seafarers. A man goes to sea, he begins to look forward to coming home. He begins to wish his time away at sea, that’s a dangerous thing for a man to do. He is in danger of losing his soul, I would say - his sense of being. He comes ashore and it’s fiesta time for him and nobody else. All too often the leave you look forward to falls flat on its face. (Padre in charge of a Seaman’s Mission quoted in Hill, 1972: 68)

Crewing strategies, which often resulted in seafarers routinely sailing on different vessels with different crews, and reduced crewing levels, reflected in single person tasking, all appeared to impede and restrict the development on onboard friendships and social relationships.

So most of the time it is a fact that a seafarer feels lonely and isolated at sea as well as when he is with his family in the lands. This is perhaps not surprising given that the main cause of decline in friendship relationships has been found to be geographical separation (Argyle and Henderson, 1984). Indeed the majority of seafarers felt it was very difficult to maintain friendships when their occupation necessitated them being absent from home for long periods.So as a seafarer let us know that do you feel more isolated at home or at sea?
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