It’s the time of the year again, and here you are in the middle of the sea with 15 or 23 other seafarers. With them is your Christmas wish list you never actually considered declaring at the top of the mast.
But let’s mix in a little twist this time and blast our shipping companies with something we truly want this festive holiday.
More than the trinkets, tasty dinner, forced charcoal, and Christmas presents they give us (you are lucky if you have one), we also want something much more impactful.
Seafarer’s Top 10 Christmas Wishes
This year, we long for changes that will improve our lives in the long run. We work hard out here day after day, keeping the ships running so that people can enjoy their cozy holiday celebrations on land.
Don’t we deserve some special care, too?
Here are the desires of every seafarer working above and beyond this holiday season.
10. Salary increase
Let’s be straightforward here. We want a REAL and TANGIBLE salary increase!
We know that the International Labor Convention (ILO) Joint Maritime Committee convenes and discusses the state of our salary, including how much increase we will have.
But an average increase of less than US$10.00 per year can’t be felt, especially if inflation is jacking up to double digits!
Besides, some companies increase the base wage but decrease our overtime pay. Let’s not elaborate here, but I know you know what I’m talking about.
9. Safe working conditions.
This one is already in the books, but not all vessels follow and implement safe working conditions on board.
We wish for safety regulations that are truly enforced. We want equipment that is well-maintained and not patched up with prayers and improvised spare parts because of too many budget constraints.
8. Harmonious relationship with fellow crew members.
This one is on us. We wish we all get along on board and avoid bickering and fighting due to some issues.
Often, we hear one crew punched or stabbed another seafarer. Then, we also see one of our fellow shipmates go missing.
We should desire and practice a work environment where camaraderie, cooperation, and mutual respect prevail among the diverse crew members.
7. Deserving promotion
Instead of hiring an outside crew that we don’t know of, why not promote our own crew who already know and understand the company well?
Worse is giving them promises and exposing them to the task because of an incoming inspection, only to have a new individual arrive to take over that position afterward.
This still boggles me, and that’s one reason why some seafarers no longer believe in loyalty.
6. Safe and secure passage
It’s all over the news. Ships are getting detained, attacked, hijacked, bombed, and shelled. Us seafarers are caught in the crossfire of two opposing countries.
My wish and prayer is that these conflicts stop and the maritime industry finds respite from the escalating dangers.
5. Fair employment practices
We wish for transparent contracts, reasonable working conditions, just compensation, and nondiscrimination.
In essence, we wish for fair employment practices that reflect a commitment to creating a work environment that upholds seafarers’ rights.
4. Remove repetitive training and faster COP application
Perhaps, you can also tag MARINA so they can hear our wish this Christmas. These are some of the seafarer complaints that I encountered since I started sailing.
COP application is taking forever whether you are naughty or nice. Training centers’ net profit is at an all-time high due to the repetitive, unlimited, unnecessary, and boatload of training they impose.
Things were getting so much better before, but it seems we’re back to where we were ten years ago. Only difference now is that we are “digital”.
3. Spending Christmas with family and loved ones
We know this is impossible to attain since half of us must be at sea to keep the ships running. But a wish is a wish.
Maybe someone will invent an instant teleportation technology.
All we really wish is to be home at Christmas with our families after our contract ends. But this isn’t always the case, as some companies may find means to postpone our repatriation.
2. Unlimited Internet
Now, this is something that we truly want on our ship!
What we actually want this Christmas is unlimited, high-speed internet access that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg! Free would also be nice.
With unlimited bandwidth, we could connect with loved ones back home and make our life at sea a bit brighter and more enjoyable, making our contract.
1. Christmas bonu$
A nice fat Christmas bonus would sure hit the spot! We’re not talking about some holiday ham or extra socks here.
How about some extra cash while we spend months away from loved ones battling Poseidon’s temper tantrums? A little financial cheer can go a long way.
Show us some love this December!
So, there you have it, folks – the uncensored, slightly salty, and definitely heartfelt Christmas wish list of seafarers.
We may crave unlimited internet and dream of teleportation technology, but at the core, our desires are simple: respect, fairness, and a chance to feel the warmth of home, even when miles away.
Remember, a happy seafarer is a productive seafarer – and one with a wicked sense of humor. Happy holidays, everyone!
May the winds be in your favor.