Shipping is essential for world trade. Without shipping, you wouldn’t be reading this on your phone or computer. Seafarers are essential for shipping. Without seafarers, the ships would not sail. If the ships didn’t sail, doctors and health care workers wouldn’t have their face masks, gloves or equipment to fight COVID-19.
Still, too many countries around the world deny seafarers the right to travel due to fear of the coronavirus. That means that over 43% of the Grieg Star seafarers are stuck in limbo. They are either not able to travel home after the end of their contract. Or they are not able to join their ship, do their job and provide for their family. We urge all governments to start treating seafarers with the respect and dignity they deserve. We agree with IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim when he says: “Just 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.” If you want to learn more about the issues seafarers are facing during the pandemic, join the IMO webinar tomorrow, on the 26th of June: https://bit.ly/2AHPdqw