INTERCARGO is supporting the shipping community by encouraging bulk carriers in ports around the world to sound their horns at 12 noon local time on 25 June, the IMO Day of the Seafarer, to remind the world of the urgent need to vaccinate all seafarers serving on board and awaiting onshore for re-employment, and to guarantee a fair future for them.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, seafarers have found themselves both on the front line of the global response and subjected to difficult working conditions, surrounded by uncertainties and difficulties around shore leave in ports, access to medical facilities onshore, re-supply, crew changeovers and repatriation.
INTERCARGO applauds the efforts of those countries, including the United States and the Netherlands, which have begun seafarer inoculation programmes utilising their ports as vaccination hubs. Vitally they are vaccinating both national and international seafarers that enter their ports and INTERCARGO urges all other maritime nations to follow this lead and ensure vaccination programmes are put in place to support the seafarer, especially in light of the continuing emergence of new variants of the COVID-19 virus.
While steps have been taken to improve the situation in the last twelve months, there remains uncertainty amongst many ships’ crews who are still unsure of when they will be repatriated and what the future holds for them. In addition, in the distressing case of seafarers dying on board, families continue to face immense hurdles in having the bodies of their loved ones repatriated. Every day seafarers on shore, and their families, are suffering stress and worry over re-employment and resuming earnings, whilst their counterparts on board are fatigued and anxious for relief so they can reunite with their loved ones.
On this Day of the Seafarer 2021, INTERCARGO calls on governments around the world who have ratified the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) to show compassion and understanding by taking swift action without any delay.
The #Shoutoutforseafarers campaign is aimed at reminding the world of the urgent need to vaccinate all seafarers and the dangers of leaving this unique population unvaccinated.