Cabin sizes are often very small and congested even on large modern ships. Provision of such accommodation does little to help crew morale and commitment and may result in seafarers deciding to leave the industry. However change here can only come with the building of ships that consider the needs of crew members as well as those that are technical and commercial.
There are ILO/MLC minimum standards for cabin size and for their ambient conditions in terms of noise and ventilation; however these fail to recognize that a seafarer’s cabin is also their home and personal space for the duration of their time at sea.
The ILO/MLC minimum requirements are usually adhered to. By having more habitable and convivial crew accommodation the human beings on board will be more efficient and motivation levels can be enhanced.
In essence we should remind ourselves that not considering basic requirements of any human being is a potential contributor to the development of problems of performance and safety and this argument may be used to persuade shipbuilders and owners to look at the crew needs as an investment that will improve motivation as well lessening accidents and costly mishaps
A ship is a unique site for human activities . It is a hazardous working environment full of potentially dangerous goods and machinery. It is a mobile structure which has to be tough in order to ply the seas and withstand the ravages of a hostile environment, including extremes of weather, virtually every day of its life. On the other hand it is also home for the seafarers that operate the vessel.
Because seafarers live close together, courtesy and consideration about the needs and expectations of other crew members is essential. For instance dirt and grease picked up on footwear on deck or in the port should not be walked into the accommodation. Plastic boot covers may be available at entrances to the accommodation and should be used if provided. Alternatively a selection of footwear near the entrance is a good indication that the crew do not wear outdoor shoes/boots inside. It is courteous for visitors to adopt the same practices as the crew.
Knowledge of the crew’s work patterns is important to keep noise to a very minimum as there may be people sleeping at any time of the day.
There tends to be an unwritten rule on ships that a closed door indicates that the occupant is unavailable (sleeping or studying, perhaps).
Catering and eating arrangements
On Board ship a Mess Room is the dining room. A saloon will be the dining room for officers while the one for crew is often known as the crew mess.
The Galley is the kitchen & the Wardroom is the officer’s bar on board ship.
Crew must be aware of basic hygiene in the galley and onboard and may be involved in making healthy choices regarding their diet. Knowledge about the nutritional value of food and the importance of eating well can help them lead an active and healthy life. It is known that over-indulgence in food leads to health problems. People also believe that they can, if they want to or need to, take personal responsibility for “healthy eating”.
While all seafarers seem to be aware of some nutrition terminology (calories, fat, carbohydrates etc), few have a genuine understanding of the full range. Calories are widely understood, but there is considerable confusion between additives and nutrients and, especially, between kitchen and technical terms.
Seafarers respond well to such terms as “light” and “low-fat”. They often lack the skills to make food choices based on purely nutritional information. It is for this reason that seafarers should be trained in regard to healthy eating.
Where a physical condition has necessitated action, some seafarers may have been told about it by their medical adviser or have sought advice from professional nutritionists. Diets aimed at, for example, reducing cholesterol have made individuals interested in both the composition of the food and its labels. All seafarers should be made aware that by taking an interest in both the composition of their food and the labels and using this information to improve their diet .
Seafarers need information that is simple, easy to use and relates to their daily nutritional needs. While they want nutrition to be a part of their daily lives, they need greater knowledge in order to integrate this information into their daily dietary management. This information is provided free of cost to all seafarers through welfare agencies, most notably the International Committee on Seafarers’ Welfare (ICSW) which runs the Seafarers Health Information Programme(SHIP) Programme, which contains modules on diet.
Food selections and lifestyle changes go hand in hand. Messages should focus on lifestyle adaptations relating to the living conditions onboard. The individual seafarer’s awareness of health and hygiene problems relating to seafaring should be raised. Welfare organisations work to educate and support seafarers in order to enable them to develop the right skills necessary to exercise more control over their own health and well-being not only by eating the right type of food with the right quantity of calories, but also be recognising the harm from smoking and the benefits of exercise.