Day of the Seafarer: More calls on governments to declare key worker status

Crew on board. Credit: IHS Markit

The World Shipping Council (WPC) has reminded governments of the essential work that seafarers carry out to maintain global trade running and that they should be designated as “key workers” to be able to carry on their work, it announced on 25 June.

The Day of the Seafarer is being used by the shipping community to acknowledge the essential part seafarers play in the global economy and highlight their plight during COVID-19. Kitack Lim, secretary general of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), delivered an opening address at a webinar on 24 June thanking seafarers for their contribution and called for governments to grant them key worker status.

The WPC, in its call, mentioned how some good work has been done at the international level to set guidelines, protocols, and standards to ensure crew changes can be carried out safely. However, more can still be done and global implementation is required as well as a unified approach to dealing with crew changes.

The WPC also urged all nations to use the IMO crew change protocols and adopt procedures to assist seafarers to move safely across international borders and unhindered to and from ships.

There are an estimated 200,000 seafarers stuck either onboard or on-shore due to the travel restrictions imposed during COVID-19.

The 2020 Day of the Seafarer campaign slogan is #SeafarersAreKeyWorkers. For news and coverage of the Day of the Seafarer follow the hashtag on Twitter.