June 25th is International Day of the Seafarer. Introduced by the International Maritime Organization in 2011, this day is designated to pay tribute to seafarers as Key Workers. At Hafnia, our Seafarers are at the heart of our organization. We look to them to help sail us into the future and to further our Best on Water market standing.
Seafarers’ contributions are recognized everyday within Hafnia as work that makes a huge impact on global livelihood. We are proud of their strength at times of adversity at sea, as well as their resilience in the face of a pandemic, ever changing markets and the outbreak of conflict.
Seafarers at the Heart and Mind of Hafnia´s Company Vision
At Hafnia, we continually promote the wellbeing of our seafarers via our various policies and programs adhering to the best possible interests of all team members at sea. Safety and Mental Health measures remain top priorities, as well as the promotion of Gender Diversity at sea.
In 2020, Hafnia, together with BW Group and Shell, ran an open innovation competition called the “Women in Maritime Lab.” The objective was to identify innovative digital ideas that could be tested, developed, and deployed to make a difference for female seafarers across the industry. The winning idea, called Seacode, was launched on our ships as an online platform for seafarers of all genders facing difficult situations at work, such as harassment, discrimination, and mental health struggles. The platform also enables seafarers to share stories and bring awareness to the problems they experience in their work.
Furthermore, Hafnia encourages its team members to participate in any initiatives that could help improve the environment for seafarers across the industry. For example, Maria Javellana, Head of Fleet at the Dubai office, participates in a group working to increase female representation at sea by interviewing and collecting feedback regarding onboard supplies and essential needs of female seafarers.
Hafnia is also participating in Malene Half Pedersen´s MBA research on increasing diversity and inclusion onboard commercial vessels. The objective is to provide meaningful and actionable insights to ship owners on how they can increase gender diversity and promote inclusive environments. Hafnia also regularly participates in forums for empowerment of all female cadets and seafarers.
Stories from our Seafarers
This year’s Day of the Seafarer is focused on Seafarers Growth Journeys, with the aim of showcasing to the world the differences between our seafarers’ early journeys and their most recent ones.
We at Hafnia have enjoyed celebrating this evolution and are excited to share photos, insights and even poems from our seafarers around the world. We were extremely happy to have caught up with Captain Vishal Gujral, 4th Engineer Nivea Villafuerte, Captain Somen Roy and Chief Officer Onboard Zulaika Florin .
Together, they provided insights about their past and recent journeys.
When summarizing the main changes between first and most recent voyages, Captain Gujral recounts how communication with families previously consisted of the occasional phone call or letters received at ports. “The charm of reading a beloved´s letter repeatedly has been taken over by the instant gratification provided by WhatsApp messaging, which allows for more connection with family and friends.” Nivea confirms that this connection improves one’s motivation to work, saying, “we draw strength from families, which then improves our quality of work, and our awareness of safety.” Captain Gujral also recalls bigger crew numbers, differences in increased Shore Leave in the past, and the limitations experienced during Covid.
Captain Roy discussed the improvements of personal safety awareness, updates in communication systems, outlay of vessels, state of the art equipment on board and the numerous growth opportunities for life on board, all of which have significantly enhanced the wellbeing of seafarers. After serving the same company for over 22 years, he recalls his good feelings regarding his collaboration with the organization on efforts for better wage scales, training, health and safety awareness and the personal wellbeing of seafarers.
Digital technologies have progressed immensely, as the maritime industry now finds itself in a crucial time of development. Captain Gujral states, “development is booming to the seafarer. From making abhorrently expensive Satellite calls to live video, from the hurrying of the chart table to the magical realm of the ECDIS navigation system. The dreaded disconnect from the family that a seafarer felt earlier is now gone. Digitization has removed boundaries and has brought us closer to the world.”
Zulaika Florin agrees, stating, “from manual to techie, one can reach out for assistance all in real time, which all greatly helps with the wellbeing of crew onboard.”
Captain Roy recounts fondly the days where pilots, “used to bring a paperback copy of Newsprint in most ports. Sailors were totally cut off from current affairs. But today, with a click of a button, all information and news are available to the seafarer community, keeping them abreast of all pertaining to the changing world around them.”
When it comes to safety, seafarers note the advances Hafnia has made. “I have never been concerned about safety at Hafnia,” states Captain Gujral. “Throughout my journey in this organization, I have learned that safety starts at the top. The firm idea of completing all tasks thoroughly without shortcuts stems from the person sitting in the office ashore and cascades right down to the frontline workers. To complement the above idea, there has been a constant upgrade and development of the safety processes, which have always kept us safe.”
Zulaika Florin says that “Hafnia has improved and developed more programs and enhanced procedures via Learning Engagement Tools and Support Programs, which have all been helpful.”
Both Captain Roy and Nivea Villafuerte agree that safety measures from the past to present day have improved significantly. They describe Hafnia as having excellent, “workplace safety, routine personal safety, promoting open line communication, and zero tolerance to unsafe behaviour”, all of which make journeys of today’s seafarers much easier.
And, finally, they elaborated on their more recent journeys.
“Hafnia openly promotes and strives to work with girls like me,” says Nivea Villafuerte. “It’s a total commitment to gender equality that’s beyond measure compared to any other fleet and any other company in my past experiences.”
“Having a organization behind me that believes in me and my capacity to work drives me to give my best in everything that I do. I may not be as physically strong as a man, but I am encouraged by company values to continue being strong willed, detailed, and passionate in my work.”
Captain Gujral looks back over his journey and commends Hafnia for being the steady partner – inspiring his confidence and integrity via its morals and principles.
“Growing up the ranks and seeing the company evolve from the World-Wide Days to BW, to Hafnia has been the most enjoyable and remarkable aspect. As a seafarer, it gives me immense satisfaction that we all work together to provide better lives for seafarers, always keeping zero harm principles in our actions and striving to maintain our Best on Water standing,” states Captain Roy.
On behalf of Hafnia, we wish all our seafarers a Happy Seafarers Day. Bon Voyage and Fair Winds ahead!
Share on social