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Challenges of Harassment and Bullying Revealed on Danish-Flagged Ships

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The University of Southern Denmark, on behalf of the Danish Maritime Authority, has examined the extent of harassment and bullying on Danish-flagged ships. The investigation reveals that there are challenges related to harassment and bullying on Danish-flagged vessels.

Following several reports of harassment and bullying on Danish-flagged ships, the Minister for Business Affairs requested the Danish Maritime Authority in the summer of 2022 to conduct an inquiry to clarify the issues.

Now that the investigation is complete, it is evident that there are significant challenges with harassment and bullying in the industry. For example, approximately 17 percent of respondents report experiencing bullying in their workplace, while around 11 percent have been subjected to harassment.

According to the study, this primarily occurs aboard long-haul cargo ships, and it disproportionately affects young seafarers and those with limited experience at sea.

At the same time, the investigation shows that the challenges of bullying and harassment are not solely related to gender but also extend to factors such as race and cultural background.

-“This is completely unacceptable, and I am frankly surprised by the extent of it. The report even suggests that there may still be unreported cases despite the investigation. This is a problem that the industry needs to address immediately. More must be done because it is not acceptable for seafarers to fear harassment and bullying, whether based on their gender or ethnicity. Therefore, I have asked the Danish Maritime Authority to engage with industry stakeholders to identify measures that can ensure a safe working environment both in the short and long term. After that, the government is also very open to considering initiatives together,” says Minister for Business Affairs Morten Bødskov.

The Danish Maritime Authority, in collaboration with industry representatives, is expected to propose solutions by the end of 2023.

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