Tue | Jul 7, 2020

Seafarers are key workers – IMO

Published:Tuesday | June 23, 2020 | 12:09 AM

As the maritime industry continues its representation for crew members’ repatriation during the global pandemic, Secretary General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), Kitack Lim, is calling for the recognition of seafarers as essential workers.

Highlighting the annual observation of ‘Day of the Seafarers’. to be celebrated on June 25, Lim says, “Even in good times, seafarers are the unsung heroes of the global economy. More than 80 per cent of global trade is delivered by sea. Seafarers’ work is physically and mentally demanding, lonely, and remote. But this year, we are in the unprecedented situation of the global COVID-19 pandemic.”

As part of the IMO’s efforts in getting these crew members home, the Day of the Seafarers 2020 campaign theme is #SeafarersAreKeyWorkers.

Lim says that while ships are continuing to trade, and most ports remain open to deliver and load vital supplies, the global pandemic has plunged many seafarers into desperate situations, and he is amazed and impressed with the dedication, professionalism, resilience and perseverance of seafarers as they have faced the inability to conduct crew changes, inability to be repatriated, inability to get passports and visas to get to and from their ships, lack of access to medical care, lack of personal protective equipment, and denial of shore leave – all as a result of well-intentioned efforts to protect public health and safety, but with overly restrictive consequences to shipping.

“Despite all these challenges, seafarers have stayed on the job 24/7,” says Lim.

The IMO is calling on the public to join the global call for the proper recognition of seafarers by following, using, and sharing the #SeafarersAreKeyWorkers hashtag across social media platforms.

“Seafarers continue to deliver for all of us; now, let’s ensure that we deliver for them!” says Lim.