The Wolfson Centre for Bulk Solids Handling Technology Sailors SocietyCleveland Cascades LtdVan AalstTelestackPort of South Louisiana
  • Sailors Society
  • Coaltrans Global 2021
  • Vigan
  • Cimbria
  • Cleveland Cascades Ltd
  • Bühler GmbH

Vital to exempt seafarers from travel bans

Vital to exempt seafarers from travel bans

(Posted on 20/03/20)

Joint open letter to United Nations agencies from the global maritime transport industry. To:

Director General, United Nations International Labour Organization

Secretary-General, United Nations International Maritime Organization

Secretary-General, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development

Director General, World Health Organization.

Facilitating Crew Changes to Keep World Trade Moving Throughout the Covid-19 Crisis

As the COVID-19 pandemic takes hold it is vital that all governments keep maritime trade moving by continuing to allow commercial ships access to ports worldwide and by facilitating the movement and rapid changeover of ships’ crews.

We are writing on behalf of the International Chamber Shipping (ICS), which represents the world’s national shipowners’ associations and over 80% of the world’s merchant shipping tonnage, and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), which speaks on behalf of approximately two million seafarers who operate the world’s internationally-trading commercial ships.

As the COVID-19 pandemic takes hold, it is important for the world’s governments to fully understand that around 90% of global trade is transported by commercial shipping, which moves the world’s food, energy and raw materials, as well as manufactured goods and components – including vital medical supplies and many products sold in supermarkets, items that are necessary (due to complex supply chains) for the preservation of many jobs in manufacturing – without which modern society simply cannot function.

In this time of global crisis, it is more important than ever to keep supply chains open and maritime trade and transport moving.

In particular, this means keeping the world’s ports open for calls by visiting commercial ships, and facilitating crew changes and the movement of ships’ crews with as few obstacles as possible.

Every month, around 100,000 seafarers need to be changed over from the ships which they operate in order to comply with relevant international maritime regulations, governing safe working hours and crew welfare, so that they can continue to transport global trade safely.

We therefore wish to emphasise the vital need for the world’s professional merchant seafarers to be granted appropriate exemptions from any national travel restrictions, when joining or leaving their ships, in order to keep the world’s maritime supply chains functioning.

In view of their vital role during the global pandemic, we suggest that professional seafarers, regardless of nationality, should be treated as any other international ‘key workers’, such as airline crew and medical personnel. As such, they should be afforded special consideration and, notwithstanding the need to comply with emergency health protocols, treated with pragmatism and understanding when seeking to travel to and from their ships.

We therefore call on your organisations to highlight the critical importance of this issue with the governments of your member states.

We request, as a matter of urgency, that this topic be added to the agenda of appropriate high level meetings, and that national authorities in your organisations’ member states should be encouraged to engage immediately with their national shipowners’ association and national seafarers’ union, in order to find rapid solutions to this serious problem which otherwise risks impeding global efforts to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

Yours faithfully,

Guy Platten, Secretary General, International Chamber of Shipping Stephen Cotton, General Secretary, International Transport Workers Federation

Latest News

First maritime slips, trips and falls poster

(Posted on 11/05/21)

Maritime Progress, a major player in the photoluminescent marine signage arena has developed a new Slips... Read more


New bunker alerts for next generation loss prevention

(Posted on 11/05/21)

A new release of The Swedish Club’s Trade Enabling Loss Prevention tool (TELP), the next generation... Read more


Columbia and Seatrans agree strategic shipmanagement tie-up

(Posted on 06/05/21)

Columbia Shipmanagement (CSM) has continued its recent expansion by agreeing a strategic partnership... Read more


OneLearn Global signs up to Neptune Declaration

(Posted on 06/05/21)

Recently launched OneLearn Global, created to provide modern-day training solutions to serve the maritime... Read more


IMO Council membership demonstrates Jamaica’s worth

(Posted on 06/05/21)

Membership of the International Maritime Organisation is important for strengthening Jamaica and the... Read more


CCS grows bulker fleet and scores with Intercargo

(Posted on 04/05/21)

China Classification Society (CCS), the world’s fastest growing classification society, has been... Read more


Su-Nav establishes integrated ship management model

(Posted on 04/05/21)

Su Nav, the integrated ship management company, has established a comprehensive range of services over... Read more


Fednav welcomes its latest icebreaking bulk carrier

(Posted on 29/04/21)

Fednav Limited has announced that it has taken delivery of its latest Polar Class 4 icebreaking bulk... Read more


InterManager vows to source vaccinations for seafarers

(Posted on 29/04/21)

Frustrated by the lack of progress and slow pace of international efforts, InterManager has vowed to... Read more


IOMSR first flag state to partner Eyesea ocean clean up

(Posted on 29/04/21)

The Isle of Man Ship Registry (IOMSR) has become the first flag state to formally back the Eyesea initiative... Read more


TBA GroupCoaltrans Global 2021CimbriaPort of StocktonTOC EventsBühler GmbH
  • TOC Events
  • TBA Group
  • Port of South Louisiana

Subscribe to our newsletter

Keep up to date with the latest global news in bulk cargo handling and shipping