ITF and ICS are encouraging the gesture of solidarity to recognize over 1.6 million seafarers across the world, the unsung heroes of global trade, who are keeping countries supplied with food, fuel and important supplies such as vital medical equipment not only through the Covid-19 pandemic, but every day. Prior to engaging in blowing the horns ships should ensure that appropriate clearance is sought where required.
The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) is doing this as show of appreciation and morale boost for seafarers coming at time when many in the industry are feeling particularly low. While a great deal of attention was given to the debacle of repatriating passengers off cruise ships months ago with the initial spark of COVID-19, the industry continues to have issues regarding personnel and crew due to severe reductions and restrictions in global travel regarding airlines.
Seafarers are currently being asked to extend their contracts and serve onboard to extraordinary lengths as companies are unable to provide reliefs and complete crew changes for vessels.
Last month The International Maritime Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) told the world’s seafarers to stop working if their employment contracts have expired and they are awaiting repatriation home. This would stop vessels as it would drop vessels below their safe manning requirements for sailing and operation.
Fatigued crew also have a direct relation with regards to increases in accidents and incidents while serving onboard vessels. It causes a range of consequences ranging from personal mental health problems, injuries, environmental damage, and damage and losses of the cargo or vessel.
Guy Platten, secretary general of the ICS, commented in a release June 30, 2020: “Globally there are now 400,000 seafarers who are either stranded at sea and have overrun their contracts or are at shore waiting to start their tours of duty.”
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