UN and partners press for seafarers to be designated ‘key workers’ during COVID pandemic


UN and partners press for seafarers to be designated ‘key workers’ during COVID pandemic

in International Shipping News 28/09/2020

The UN Secretary-General has again appealed for governments to act on behalf of hundreds of thousands of seafarers and other maritime workers stuck at sea for endless months, in some cases more than a year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

António Guterres on Thursday pressed authorities to formally designate these personnel as “key workers” to facilitate safe crew changes, allowing fatigued seafarers to be repatriated and replaced by colleagues who are awaiting deployment.

“Despite the unprecedented conditions brought about by the pandemic, seafarers have continued to tirelessly support the often invisible global logistics chain”, the UN chief said, in his message for World Maritime Day, observed annually on 24 September.

This year, the focus is on ‘Sustainable Shipping for a Sustainable Planet’ which underlines how the industry will play a central role in both post-pandemic recovery and future economic growth.

Seafarers critical to global trade

As Mr. Guterres pointed out, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the professionalism and sacrifice of the more than one million men and women who serve in the world’s merchant fleet.

Seafarers play a critical role in shipping, which accounts for the movement of more than 80 per cent of global trade including food, basic goods and vital medical supplies needed during the pandemic.

The UN and partners estimate that more than 300,000 members of this hidden workforce currently are trapped at sea due to travel restrictions, border closures and other measures implemented by governments to contain COVID-19 spread.

They said the situation is unfolding into an urgent humanitarian, safety and economic crisis.

‘The show had to go on’

Captain Hedi Marzougui was commanding a merchant vessel in the Far East when the pandemic broke out. Life on board immediately became difficult. Crew changes, shore leaves and medical leaves were suspended, and it was hard to get vital supplies or technical support to the ship.

“Port nations changed regulations on a daily, if not hourly, basis. Severe strains began to show amongst my crew almost immediately,” he said, speaking at a virtual event to mark World Maritime Day, held on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

“Not knowing when, or if, we would be returning home took a severe mental toll on my crew and myself. We felt we were being treated as second-class citizens, with no input or control on our lives. However, even under these stressing conditions, the show had to go on.”

‘Collateral victims’ of the pandemic?

For some seafarers, the show appears to have no end. The Secretary-General noted that some tours of duty have now stretched more than 17 months: far beyond international standards.

Besides renewing his appeal for Governments to declare seafarers as essential workers, Mr. Guterres urged authorities to implement protocols developed by UN agencies, alongside the International Chamber of Shipping and the International Transport Workers’ Federation, that would facilitate crew rotations.

The protocols also call for no new work extensions beyond 11 months, diverting vessels to ports where crew changes can take place, and recognition of internationally-designated seafarers’ documents.

Kitack Lim, Secretary General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), and a former seafarer himself, stressed that it is high time for action. “We all depend on seafarers,” he said. “They should not be the collateral victims of the pandemic.”

‘Catastrophic’ impacts at sea and on land

The head of the International Labour Organization (ILO) warned that failure to resolve the crisis would not only be “catastrophic” for seafarers and compromise maritime safety, it could potentially lead to a breakdown of global supply chains.

“We have a plan of action, and I think our next steps must simply be… to increase the pressures on governments so that the perfectly feasible action is taken”, said Guy Ryder, the ILO Director-General.

He reported that Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) from 30 major companies wrote to the Secretary-General this week, requesting action.

Some 12,000 companies worldwide have joined the UN Global Compact, which supports businesses in aligning their operations with universal principles on human rights, labour, the environment and ending corruption.

CEO and Executive Director Sanda Ojiambo pressed for political action, stating that without seafarers, global supply chains would simply cease functioning.

“Truly, for the sake of men and women like Captain Marzougui and his crew, and in the interest of safe and orderly shipping and trade, let us all make our national authorities know that we stand with the seafarers,” she said.
Source: UN

Leave a Reply

SSCP   CAS-002   9L0-066   350-050   642-999   220-801   74-678   642-732   400-051   ICGB   c2010-652   70-413   101-400   220-902   350-080   210-260   70-246   1Z0-144   3002   AWS-SYSOPS   70-347   PEGACPBA71V1   220-901   70-534   LX0-104   070-461   HP0-S42   1Z0-061   000-105   70-486   70-177   N10-006   500-260   640-692   70-980   CISM   VCP550   70-532   200-101   000-080   PR000041   2V0-621   70-411   352-001   70-480   70-461   ICBB   000-089   70-410   350-029   1Z0-060   2V0-620   210-065   70-463   70-483   CRISC   MB6-703   1z0-808   220-802   ITILFND   1Z0-804   LX0-103   MB2-704   210-060   101   200-310   640-911   200-120   EX300   300-209   1Z0-803   350-001   400-201   9L0-012   70-488   JN0-102   640-916   70-270   100-101   MB5-705   JK0-022   350-060   300-320   1z0-434   350-018   400-101   350-030   000-106   ADM-201   300-135   300-208   EX200   PMP   NSE4   1Z0-051   c2010-657   C_TFIN52_66   300-115   70-417   9A0-385   70-243   300-075   70-487   NS0-157   MB2-707   70-533   CAP   OG0-093   M70-101   300-070   102-400   JN0-360   SY0-401   000-017   300-206   CCA-500   70-412   2V0-621D   70-178   810-403   70-462   OG0-091   1V0-601   200-355   000-104   700-501   70-346   CISSP   300-101   1Y0-201   200-125  , 200-125  , 100-105  , 100-105  , CISM   NS0-157   350-018  , NS0-157   ICBB  , N10-006 test  , 350-050   70-534   70-178   220-802   102-400   000-106   70-411  , 400-101   100-101  , NS0-157   1Z0-803   200-125  , 210-060   400-201   350-050   C_TFIN52_66  , JN0-102  , 200-355   JN0-360   70-411   350-018  , 70-412   350-030   640-916   000-105   100-105  , 70-270  , 70-462   300-070  , 300-070   642-999   101-400   PR000041   200-101  , 350-030   300-070  , 70-270  , 400-051   200-120   70-178   9L0-012   70-487   LX0-103   100-105  ,