Action on the Control Tower
Melbourne Maritime Heritage Network (MMHN) is happy to report Development Victoria (DV) action finally on the rapidly degenerating Shipping Control Tower on North Wharf. Hopefully, Docklands residents will be happy about this too.
MMHN has long been advocating for DV to begin remedial stabilisation works to halt the degeneration of this significant maritime infrastructure. DV has finally started the process, albeit in a heavily bureaucratic manner (and not a moment too soon!)
DV has issued the “North Wharf Shipping Control Tower – Remediation Works Contractor – Forward Notice”.
DV is seeking to engage a suitable construction contractor to deliver the remediation works to the North Wharf Shipping Control Tower in Docklands. Works will include, but not limited to:
- Structure Remedial Works – re-render external Shipping Control Tower, concrete repair, replacement of all external windows
- Building Services Remedial Works – make safe electrical, test lightening protection system to ensure compliance.
The construction works are forecast to commence in December 2023 pending contractor availability. We note that compulsory site inspection will occur in August 2023. For more information: docklandsnews.com.au/control-towers-condition-scrutinised/
Turning now away from MMHN and Docklands precinct happiness (happiness has become a popular topic), the United Nations publishes an annual World Happiness Report, once again scoring Finland in the top spot.
Countries such as Scotland, New Zealand and Germany already include wellbeing measures in their budgets. Our Australian Treasurer has recently issued the Measuring What Matters Report to track our wellbeing.
But, what about the happiness of seafarers?
We should certainly care about seafarers. After all, seafarers are responsible for transporting more than 90 per cent of the world’s goods and fuels. This became especially evident to us all during COVID. The global supply chain is still not operating at optimum efficiency.
The workload for seafarers has been relentless since the outbreak of COVID and is clearly taking its toll.
The Mission to Seafarers launched the Seafarers Happiness Index in 2015, providing everyone working at sea the chance to share how they feel, and talk about the good and bad about their life at sea today.
Published in July 2023, the Mission to Seafarers Index reveals the effects of COVID on the welfare of international seafarers and their families. The report makes it clear that the seafarer community is grappling with a mental health crisis.
The report shows the continuing decline of happiness at sea, largely due to the inability of seafarers to sign off and return home. Heavy workloads, virus fears and a perceived lack of COVID precautions on board vessels are exacerbating the decline in satisfaction.
Vessels are sailing with smaller crews, there is increased sickness on board and a pressure to keep hygiene standards at almost hospital-like levels. The demands of meeting these standards while also maintaining social distancing are relentless and seafarers are struggling to adhere to new guidance. Indications are that globally seafarers “are in the midst of a welfare crisis”.
Read the report here
Data for the Seafarers Happiness Index is collected via a 10-question survey. The questions asked aims to collect the thoughts and feelings of seafarers on their lives at sea, focusing on a range of different issues. Areas that are covered include mental health, physical wellbeing, general working life and family contact.
What can we individuals do?
Given that people living in the Docklands precinct are likely to have a heightened awareness about the less than easy daily lives of seafarers, Docklanders may like to make contact with Melbourne’s two seafarers services organisations:
Stella Maris, Little Collins St in the CBD. Stella Maris is looking for volunteer ship visitors and bus drivers! Can you volunteer a few hours of a day or evening per week? If so, please contact the centre manager Lee-Anne on 03 9629 7494. stellamaris.org.au
Mission to Seafarers, Flinders St, Docklands. There are so many opportunities for volunteers to assist the team at the Mission to Seafarers on a wide range of tasks – just four hours a week can make a real difference. If you like to drive, hop into one of their 11-seater shuttle buses and pick up seafarers from docks. Email [email protected] •