COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world we use to live in. Talking specially about the seafarers, well, a lot has changed for us too.
All the plans made by a seafarer are mostly based on their “sign on” and “sign off”. But with the onset of this extraordinary crisis, all plans have gone for a toss.
The seafarers onboard are desperate to come back to their homes, as they are over-worked and exhausted, both mentally and physically. While the seafarers at home are anxiously waiting to join back, as slowly they are heading towards a financial crisis, they are now finding it hard to support their families.
Well, it’s not our mistake that this pandemic took place and gave rise to a crisis. The question is, were we, the seafarers prepared for it? Did we had a contingency plan for it? The answer is NO! We always thought, life will go on normally, we will join the ship, earn money, comply with our financial commitments, come back home, spend time with the family, and again the cycle will repeat, isn’t it?
This crisis has taught us that things can go horribly and unexpectedly wrong at times. So, what lessons we, the seafarers can learn from this COVID-19 Pandemic?
I can think of 6 things we should start working on right away:
1. Never blindly trust any union or organization claiming to work for the welfare of seafarers. In the end, it all boils down on you. In times of crisis, you have to manage everything on your own.
2. Plan your finances in a good way. Build an emergency fund. Invest wisely.
3. Keep learning something new, keep enhancing your skills. You never know what might help in times of crisis.
4. Do not completely rely only on your income from your primary occupation, i.e. sailing. Try to build a parallel occupation for yourself, a side job, or a small business maybe.
5. Do not waste your hard-earned money on the things which you don’t need. If you don’t need or want it, don’t buy it.
6. If possible, avoid extending your contracts onboard. Once you finish your contract, go back to your loved ones. Spend time with your family.
Written By A Seafarer, one amongst you.