Seafarers- The Forgotten Corona Warriors?

COVID-19 has hit the world really hard. It has forced people to be locked in their homes. While the world is saluting and realizing the importance and contribution of the healthcare workers and other frontline workers.

The world has totally forgotten about one profession which is right on the frontline, keeping the movement of all necessary items alive even in this pandemic situation.

THE SEAFARERS

Yes, the ships are still out there at sea and seafarers are the ones who are running these ships. There are thousands of seafarers who have already completed their contracts ranging between 6 – 9 months and still they can’t go back to their homes with their families.



Seafarers are a largely unseen workforce of more than 1.2 million members that works 12-16 hours shifts each day on ships to ensure the movement of about 85% of the global trade.

Every month, about  100 Thousand seafarers need to sign on and off the ships to keep the vessels moving.

Travel restrictions amid coronavirus pandemic are preventing seafarers from disembarking and their replacements from boarding. More than a month has passed since the implementation of travel restrictions but still nobody is sure when the stranded seafarers can go back to their homes.

The results of these restrictions are painful for the Seafarers

As ships visits different countries, seafarers on ships are at heightened risk of transmission and mental illness as the port workers board the ship for loading and unloading of the cargo. The coronavirus can travel really fast onboard a ship. One such example is an outbreak on the American military vessel USS Theodore Roosevelt.

It is not only about the seafarers stranded at sea but the seafarers ashore are also badly affected as they are unsure when they will join their next ship and how they will make a living until then.

Also Read: Maersk Warns of 25% Drop In Shipping Due To Coronavirus Impact

The maritime Industry bodies are calling for seafarers to be classified as essential workers BUT THE WORLD GOVERNEMENTS DOESN’T SEEMS TO CARE!



However, there is a ray of hope for the seafarers as recently an alliance of ship owners including Wilhelmsen Group, Greig Star and Synergy Group came together to pressurise the governments around the world to identify the ports where crew changes can be carried out safely.

The world needs to understand the importance of the seafarers and the governments should implement the required procedures to ascertain safe crew changes and they need to do it fast because if the ships stop moving, half the world will be deprived of the essential commodities.

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