A captain who saved more than 300 lives, a volunteer who tirelessly ferries crews around, and a provider of affordable connectivity for seafarers were among those who received awards from The Mission to Seafarers at a lavish dinner in Singapore at the beginning of November.

And for the first time, the annual event featured a special award given to Oleg Grygoriuk of Ukraine’s Marine Transport Workers’ Trade Union for his tireless efforts at protecting the rights of seafarers in the war-torn country.

Andrew Wright, secretary general of The Mission to Seafarers, said: “Since the outbreak of the war, Oleg’s towering personality, passion and deep sense of purpose have been brought to bear in leading on advocacy for Ukrainian seafarers and indeed for their families.

“I have seen him in impressive action in many meetings. He commanded an audience at every level, in Ukraine and internationally. To every discussion, he combined evidenced argument with experiential narrative — and a deep love for the plight of those he serves — as well as a courageous and outspoken passion for his nation and its sufferings.

“His work has made a huge difference, not least in changing Ukrainian government policy allowing seafarers to work, and enabling seafarers on contract to return home without fear.”

Fittingly, Grygoriuk’s award was handed to him by Kateryna Zelenko, Ukraine’s ambassador to Singapore.

Wright, who attended the dinner virtually from his home in the UK, said The Mission to Seafarers is seeing “exciting growth” across all nine of its regions, both in terms of new ports, including Tokyo and Piraeus, and will be entering new countries such as Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and Tahiti, as well as returning to Yemen after a long absence.

The Mission to Seafarers is also adding capacity in many of the ports it serves.

The awards dinner was held during the same week that the latest results from the Seafarers Happiness Index, which indicated an ongoing decrease in the well-being of seafarers.

The third-quarter report showed an overall fall in seafarer happiness to just 6.6 out of 10, down from 7.1 in the first quarter of 2023.

The results from the index, which is run by The Mission to Seafarers, showed a decline in most areas covered by the survey, including wages, workload and onboard connectivity, which saw the most significant fall in happiness levels.

The only areas to buck the trend of a decline in happiness for the quarter were shore leave, training and food, where the report showed marginal improvements.