Thank You Seafarers


Published Mar 25, 2020 6:57 PM by The Maritime Executive

The maritime industry has issued a statement of thanks to seafarers, via InterManager: 

“With all the anxiety and uncertainty that is happening the world over as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, now might seem like a surprising time to talk about remaining positive. Yet staying optimistic is a vital mechanism that’s paramount in a crisis.

“That we are living through troubled and uncertain times is no secret. Of all the industries worldwide, it is fair to say that most haven’t been hit as hard as the shipping industry. 92 percent of the world’s goods are transported by ships – food, fuel, medicine – and seafarers are facing increasing hostility at ports as panic of viral cross-contamination reaches new levels: it is essential to note that this behavior is often the result of fear of local contagion particularly in small island states, ignorance and short-sightedness on behalf of local authorities, and is not directed at individual seafarers or vessels.

“Yet seafarers are a unique breed of workers, often more resilient and robust than their standard nine-to-five counterparts. Seafarers can spend months at sea, separated from their loved ones, and it is times like these when people are instructed to stay indoors and self-isolate with their families that can be the most difficult for seafarers. But small comfort can be taken in the safety of seafarers’ families and the financial stability that they continue to provide.

“Although it may seem that the world – in all its panic – has turned its back on one of the most vital supply chain elements, we continue to value the work they do for the shipping industry and the personal sacrifices they make in keeping the world ‘business as usual’. 

“It is today that we need to say loud and clear – THANK YOU SEAFARERS. Thank you for continuing with your hard work and for being patient while we sort ourselves out ashore. 

“We need you as we need fuel, food and medicine. Please rest assured that the shipping industry is working with WHO, IMO, ILO, and local governments to keep the shipping gateways open in order not to suffocate their countries or their people: Special International Group has been formed in order to immediately respond to this very dynamic situation. 

“Every day, we are receiving small pockets of positive news from seafaring companies and associates who are working to return some normality to the industry. 

“It is important for seafarers to know that they are not alone. Though it may feel like there are times of complete isolation, there are a multitude of shipping management and international trade associations working hard to support them in any way that they can.

“We are all here for you.”

The industry earlier made a call to all governments to keep maritime trade moving by allowing commercial ships continued access to ports worldwide and by facilitating the rapid changeover of ships’ crews.

Now, UNCTAD Secretary-General, Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi has said this call should not go unheeded. “As the world battles the coronavirus pandemic, the global maritime transport industry is playing a critical role in the response,” he said, noting that commercial shipping moves the world’s food, energy and raw materials, as well as vital medical supplies. “In this time of global crisis, it is more important than ever to keep supply chains open and to allow maritime trade and cross-border transport to continue.”