Seafarers are on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic, essential in maintaining the flow of vital goods, including food, medicines and medical supplies.
The worldwide crisis has led to difficult working conditions for seafarers, including uncertainties and difficulties about port access, re-supply, crew changeovers and repatriation the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) said ahead of June 25 – the Day of the Seafarer.
This year the Seafarer Day campaign calls on IMO member states to recognise seafarers as key workers and provide them with the support, assistance and travel options open to all key workers during the pandemic.
The 2020 Day of the Seafarer campaign pays tribute to seafarers, acknowledging their sacrifice and the issues they face. Many seafarers are away from home for months and unsure when they will return due to travel restrictions.
The campaign also seeks to raise awareness of the work done by seafarers in response to the pandemic and to thank them for their contribution. All are invited to recognise the ability of seafarers to deliver vital goods is central to responding to, and eventually overcoming, the pandemic the IMO message said.
In his Day of the Seafarer message, IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim highlighted the unique and essential work of seafarers.
“Like other key workers, seafarers are on the front line in this global fight. They deserve our thanks. But they also need and deserve quick and decisive humanitarian action from governments everywhere, not just during the pandemic, but at all times,” he said.