Our pool of sea personnel consists of 1500 seafarers, about 800 of whom currently serve on-board our vessels. We manage the manning of our fleet in close cooperation with long-established manning agents, which assists us in the recruitment of highly skilled professionals. We employ crew from three (3) different countries and 93% of our seafarers come from the Philippines.
Our goal is to maintain a young yet adequately experienced crew. In 2020, the average officer age was 44 years. We strive to keep high retention rates and reward our seafarers with competitive salaries related to their performance and their repeated service with us.
Working on-board involves intense physical labor, sometimes under extreme weather conditions, limited recreational activities and living in confined space. The latter became much more intense during the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, seafarers are the backbone of proper and safe operation and maintenance of our ships.
We are devoted to supporting the physical and mental well-being of our seafarers. To this end, we have equipped our vessels with Wi-Fi connection, gym equipment and other recreational facilities. We have also established a private insurance scheme for our officers and their immediate family members.
Moreover, since the pandemic outbreak, we have adopted a remote medical assistance consultation service that provides our seafarers in need with medical advice and diagnosis.
We invest in our human capital and do our best to maintain high retention rates. We try to reemploy seafarers at sisterships to maximize their performance and minimize their familiarization period. In 2020, the junior and senior officer retention rate was 75%.
The COVID-19 pandemic had a substantial impact on almost every aspect of our operations, with crew changes being the most affected.
Crew change restrictions at most ports resulted in prolonged serving periods. To support our crew in coping with the challenging 2020
conditions, we adopted several counter-measures:
Twenty-four (24) deviations to Manila Bay (Philippines) and Vung-Tau (Vietnam) were carried out for crew changes at our expense.
On-demand one-to-one remote medical consultation service at our expense.
Crew’s internet and telephone allowance to ease communication with their families.
Safe Bulkers endorsed the Neptune Declaration on Seafarer Wellbeing and Crew Changes to address the unprecedented crew change challenges instigated by the pandemic. The Neptune Declaration’s main objectives are:
Recognize seafarers as key workers and give them priority
access to COVID-19 vaccinations
Implement high-standard health protocols
Increase collaboration between ship operators and charterers
to facilitate crew changes
Ensure airline connectivity between key maritime hubs for
Fast and reliable ship-to-shore communication is essential both for efficient monitoring of our vessels as well as for our crew’s recreation and communication needs. Considering the day-to-day needs of our crew for internet access, both for recreation and communication (access to social media, video calls etc.), we have invested in a High-Bandwidth, Highavailability marine communication system. This non-standard satellite communication system provides ultimate reliability through a dual satellite constellation, using Ka-band with unlimited L-band backup, ensuring seamless global mobility. The total investment cost for upgrading satellite communications amounted to USD 604,800 yearly.
We invest in the development of our people and maintain a continuous training program. Prior to their embarkation, extensive familiarization meetings are carried out where the Company’s policies are presented and thoroughly communicated. Moreover, we carry out advanced safety training courses, including:
Fire prevention and firefighting drills
Enclosed space drills
MARPOL requirements and consequences in case of
The operation of our vessels is constantly monitored and supported by an on-shore team of skilful employees. We remain devoted to creating and maintaining a positive working environment of equal opportunities where our employees can perform to the best of their abilities and grow.
The management of our vessels is overseen by about 100 employees located mainly in Greece and Cyprus and employed by our Management Companies.
This corresponds to about 2.4 employees/managed vessel
We promote a diversified working environment, having increased in 2020 the female to male ratio by 6% compared to 2019
Continuous improvement of our human capital lies in the very heart of our philosophy and working principles. In this respect, all our employees receive annual performance appraisals based on the goals set individually for each of them. Promotions and performance-based bonuses are directly linked to the evaluations’ results. The pleasant and creative working environment that we aim to maintain, combined with our organization’s career prospects, result in high retention rates.
Introduction of enhanced safety policies to perform the necessary crew changes.
Provision of all our vessels with safety equipment such as face masks, gloves and disinfectants.
Continuously alerted and educated our on-board personnel on safety and health protocols. We supplied our vessels in a timely manner with the required spare parts, stores and provisions to ensure undisrupted operation.
Active on board vaccination program sponsored by the Republic of Cyprus
Implementation of a “work from home” program for our shore-based personnel.
Decreased to the extent possible business travel of our office employees and employed external surveyors to perform onboard attendances to our vessels.
We carry out PCR/Rapid COVID tests to our office personnel on a weekly basis.
As of 31/7/2021, vaccination rate amounted to 95% in both Cyprus and Athens offices.
As part of our Social Responsibility program and in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Safe Bulkers donated in the region of EUR 200k, for rapid antigen tests for the Cyprus National Guard and the Cyprus Ministry of shipping and the provision of food packages to students living in the UK during COVID-19 lockdown periods.
Investing in human capital lies in the very heart of our principles. In this respect, Safe Bulkers has launched a scholarship program consisting of five (5) scholarships for naval architecture/shipping law students. Each scholarship awards EUR 10,000 annually that will be renewed every year based on the participants’ academic merit and financial status.