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Seafarer Dilemma When Family Member Passed Away

One of the most difficult situations on a seafarer’s life is when a family member die on the day of your flight to join your assigned vessel.

In our culture, relatives living abroad will come home to pay their last respect. So if you chose to leave instead of staying can be a dilemma and stigma.

As a seafarer, I have seen crew mates who had loved ones in the Philippine die while they were on board. They have different coping mechanism. Some became very emotional and lock themselves in their cabin for days. They no longer care about their shipboard duties. Their jobs became additional burdens to their other crew mates who have to do it for them. The only thing that were in their minds were to go home.

Some were stoic, but sometimes you can see tears in their faces and silently wiping it being embarrassed caught crying in unexpected places. Showing a strong facade and continue attending their duties.

I asked the opinions of a crew manager, an office worker in my previous crewing agency and a psychometrician about the implication of this situation. They have different perspectives but worth considering.

Eventually, it is the seafarer that will decide for himself.

Let us not judge a seafarer who already spent long months on vacation and waiting for his sea duty and then a death of an immediate family member happen if he chooses to go on board instead of staying in the Philippines to bury the dead.

I once heard a saying and it goes like this, “Give me flowers while I’m living, and the knocking when I’m dead.”

What is important is that you gave your loved ones the needed help, caring and love when they were alive. As long as you parted ways and in good terms, carry that happy memories with you.

Take good care of yourself while on board kabaro.

Safety first always.

To those reading this post:

Kung ikaw ang tatanungin ko, sasakay ka ba o dun ka sa patay?

(Written by Capt Cecilio Rahon)

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