Ahead of our 2022 Seminar next month, themed: ‘The importance of social interaction for seafarers’ wellbeing’, we spoke to Capt. Anwar Farah at Bahri Ship Management to find out why Bahri chose to partner with us for this event and what this year's theme means to them.
Capt. Anwar Farah is Bahri Ship Management's Director of Health, Safety, Environment, and Quality (HSEQ) and the company’s Designated Person Ashore (DPA) for our fleet. His career within the maritime industry has spanned a period over two and a half decades, starting in 1997 as part of Saudi Aramco’s College Degree Program for non-employees (CDPNE), qualifying as OOW in 2002 and sailing on ULCC, VLCC and product tankers until late 2014. Capt. Anwar graduated from Warsash Maritime Academy, holding UK Master license and holds a degree in Marine Operation from Southampton Solent University. He is also an approved CoC oral examiner for merchant marine deck officers for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Transport General Authority, assessing and qualifying young Saudis starting their career at sea.
Welcome, Capt. Anwar! Please tell us a bit about your company.
Bahri being a favorite employer, with 95% overall retention rate and with around 91% seafarers’ feedback as an excellent, is proud to have association with more than 4,000 seafarers from around the world. Diversity is the key upon which we thrive, and which makes us unique and places us high in inclusivity. Bahri being one of the early signatories of Neptune Declaration 2021 has always been dedicated to protection and the welfare of seafarers.
Bahri, a global leader in transportation and logistics, was recently honored with two coveted awards at the 2022 Global Good Governance (3G) Awards in recognition of our unwavering commitment to nurturing employee-centered workplace culture and adopting responsible and sustainable business practices. Bahri received the ‘3G Championship Award in Human Resource Development’ and the ‘3G Sustainability Reporting Award’ from the premier awards program that celebrates excellence in good governance and commitment to social welfare.
Human capital and sustainability are at the core of Bahri’s quest for excellence. And as an employer of choice, Bahri attracts and retains the best talents. With a committed workforce being our biggest asset, we take a holistic approach to human capital development, covering all aspects of employee welfare and well-being and professional growth and development.
We are delighted that Bahri is the Gold Sponsor for the ISWAN 2022 Seminar this November. Why did you choose to sponsor this event?
ISWAN works tirelessly to improve the lives of seafarers and their families with their services, which are full of human touch, and ISWAN has been the leading support to seafarers during the unprecedented and difficult period of COVID. We at Bahri value our seafarers and are indebted to their supreme sacrifice not only during difficult times but at times of what the world calls normalcy, but for seafarers it’s always a challenging time at sea away from home. Hence it’s natural to partner with ISWAN by way of sponsoring the upcoming seminar which is aimed improving the seafarer’s life.
Bahri Ship Management was happy to be part of phase two of ISWAN's Social Interaction Matters (SIM) Project, which ran from November 2020 to January 2022, and was built on the findings from phase one with an aim to research into the social side of life at sea.
Two of our chemical tankers participated in the project with dedicated Sea and Shore Ambassadors. These ambassadors worked with ISWAN and ship staff to capture and provide valuable feedback on the realities of social interaction when living and working at sea.
The project involved a weekly crew wellbeing assessment survey, daily and activity logs, Ambassador’s interviews, and an ‘Ambassador’s Round Table’ discussion.
In essence this project obtained and examined first-hand accounts from seafarers to explore the impacts, drivers and barriers of social interaction whilst living and working on board. We take great learnings from the outcome of project and working towards more engaging social interaction onboard.
Once again, we would like to thank ISWAN for taking the initiative for such a noble cause.
Our seminar theme this year is ‘The importance of social interaction for seafarers’ wellbeing’. Why do you think crew wellbeing should be a priority for shipping and ship management companies?
Seafaring is a ‘risky occupation’ in terms of both physical and mental health and seafarers are exposed to various stressors in the workplace, including social isolation, exposure to poor physical conditions and long work hours. Hence improving crew welfare onboard is not only a necessity for the shipping industry to show it cares for its seafarers, but also a contributing factor to ship safety. Time has come now whereby the culture in the industry needs to change so seafarers feel that their wellbeing is as an integral part, and so that they feel free to voice their concern and seek support from their employer without the risk of losing their job.
Bahri believes that investing in crew wellbeing by making sure that they have the best chance to do the job, to live well, to enjoy their career at sea is an important and fundamental principle of CSR.
How does Bahri promote and protect the wellbeing of its crew?
Seafarers are at the heart of everything we do and it’s nothing but natural to keep the heart healthy and pumping. In order to prevent emotional and psychological distress in our seafarers, it is useful to understand what their needs might be and here our engagement, visibility, open dialogue system play a key role.
Time to time we have campaigns focused on promoting wellbeing such as ‘How Would You Say Goodbye to Year’, ‘Embrace Bahri Values during Ramadan’, ‘Certificate of appreciation on the “Day of the Seafarer” to each vessel’, etc.
Our Nawras newsletter focuses on social aspects of news stories, featuring individuals from the office and fleet as well as competitions.
A dedicated Welfare Committee onboard with additional funds are committed to the wellbeing of seafarers and organizes ‘Social Engagement Day’ once a month to bring all onboard together.
Unlimited free Wi-Fi, a well-equipped gymnasium and high-quality entertainment devices are some of the onboard facilities to keep our seafarers mentally and physically healthy and happy.
A dedicated Welfare Coordinator in the office, availability of a 24/7 mental wellbeing support number, and a periodic mental and physical wellbeing programme play a key role in keeping our human resources at sea being valued.
Visible and felt leadership is a guiding light, which make seafarers at Bahri well protected and happy.
Why do you think social interaction on board is important for crew wellbeing?
Working onboard a ship often involves considerable mental and physical demands which are not readily comparable to what person experiences working ashore. While at sea, seafarers are away from family and society in general and remain at the workplace during both working and non-working hours with only their colleagues. Such a scenario makes them an extremely isolated working group.
As they spend the whole tenure with their colleagues, it is important that relationships between them are positive and that there is cohesion amongst teams onboard. And here the social interaction plays a key role, which not only takes their mind away from stressful work and loneliness but provides an opportunity to share the soft side of being human.
What are your hopes for joining us in Rotterdam for the ISWAN 2022 Seminar? Is there anything in particular you hope to achieve from attending?
Being part of the seminar provides an excellent opportunity for us to understand how best we can impact positively in our seafarers’ lives and at the same time to show the industry our commitment to improve human life at sea. Such seminar brings people from the industry, who are striving for the similar cause, at the round table and makes them engage to explore a concentrated effort for the best outcome.
Bahri is happy to be part of such a noble seminar and for being able to contribute to the better future of our seafarers.