SIU reveals alarming levels of workplace harassment on Canadian Ships

The Seafarers’ International Union of Canada (SIU) recently revealed an alarming report on workplace harassment and bullying within the Canadian marine sector, which indicates that 46% of seafarers have experienced harassment or bullying at some point in their career as a seafarer.

The survey reveals that 46% of all seafarers and 69% of female seafarers report having faced harassment during their careers.

Moreover, 9% of all seafarers and 35% of female seafarers reported experiencing sexual harassment. It also shows that 67% of harassment victims were targeted by a superior.

Meanwhile, 48% of those who have been harassed did not report inappropriate behaviour to their employer, and 60% answered ‘no’ or ‘not sure’ when asked if they felt their employer is doing enough to protect them from harassment at work.

The report, released by SIU Canada, is a summary of the data gathered from a survey that was conducted in the summer of 2023.

The survey was sent to all SIU members, who represent the majority of unlicensed seafarers across Canada.

The report points to some areas of concern in an industry currently experiencing a shortage of workers to fill available positions on board Canadian-flagged vessels in Canadian waterways.

The SIU hopes that releasing the results of the survey will help start an industry-wide conversation about how to address issues of harassment at sea to make seafaring a more sought-after career for potential job seekers.

While the report suggests some improvements in workplace conditions compared to the past, it stresses that further actions are needed to eradicate harassment on Canadian vessels.

Michael Given, president of the SIU Canada, said: “Harassment in the workplace is not something we take lightly and clearly it is an issue that the industry as a whole needs to do a better job at addressing.

“A career as a seafarer can be a fantastic way to earn a living and it’s an incredibly rewarding career, however, the workplace needs to be a safe and healthy environment for everyone on board if we want to address issues of recruitment and retention within the industry.”

In response to the report, SIU Canada has committed to working with companies, shipowners, and government bodies to address these issues. They have also pledged to work diligently for all Canadian seafarers to help bring an end to harassment and bullying at sea.