ISWAN Launches Updated Piracy Preparation Guide
Maritime charity ISWAN has released an updated version of its Good Practice Guide for Shipping Companies and Manning Agents.
Seafarers continue to be the targets of pirates and armed robbers, with around 100 held captive ashore by various groups in different parts of the world at the moment, says the charity. Interviews with seafarers released after an attack and hostage situation suggest that those briefed in advance on what to expect during an attack or when taken captive are able to cope better than those who are not. Information on how to behave appears to have played a large part in initial responses and aided their ability to understand and manage the situation.
Therefore, companies need to be well prepared, says ISWAN. The guide covers good practice in the support of seafarers and their families before, during and after an incident.
Psychological reactions to traumatic experiences can occur within days, weeks or months of an incident. Reactions may be re-stimulated when sensory reminders such as similar smells and sounds occur. Some psychological reaction is normal. Problems during recovery will resolve over time given appropriate support from family, colleagues, the company and other support organizations.
Seafarers may develop post-traumatic psychological reactions, including post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety disorders or substance misuse problems, requiring professional assessment and treatment by a mental health professional. Companies are encouraged to actively support the return to work of affected seafarers. However, such seafarers and their families may experience increased stress upon return to work and when travelling into pirate-risk areas. Companies should therefore create a culture that encourages their seafarers to seek help if required, says ISWAN.
The guide has been updated with the help of the International Chamber of Shipping, the International Maritime Bureau, the International Maritime Employers' Council and the Oil Companies International Marine Forum. It is designed to supplement the existing processes of companies and comes with the benefit of the experience of dealing with over 200 seafarers and their families who have been held captive by pirates.
The guide is available here.