Received from: Nautilus
Congress notes that during the coronavirus pandemic countries closed their borders leaving around 300,000 seafarers globally unable to return home at their end of their contracts. This includes an estimated 2,000 UK seafarers who were stranded onboard as crew changes were cancelled.
Maritime professionals supply 90 per cent of global trade, including medical supplies, PPE and food which were vital during the pandemic. Despite this, many countries ignored the basic human rights of seafarers, banning them from leaving their ships, refusing them medical care or transiting countries to return home. Some seafarers are being forced to work way beyond their contracts and some have been onboard for up to 15 months.
Congress welcomes the UK government’s initiative and leadership in hosting an emergency crew-change summit to address the unfolding emergency, encouraging other countries to designate seafarers as keyworkers and facilitate safe passage to allow crew to leave their vessels and for relief crew to join.
Congress congratulates the UK government for taking an international lead on this issue and encourages them to continue to press other countries to support seafarers.
Congress calls on the government to work with unions and international organisations to seek improvements to global legislation and close the loopholes which allow vital employment protections to be ignored at times of crisis.
Congress further calls on the government to conduct a full review of the impact of the pandemic on the maritime sector and the nation’s resilience.