Today is the ‘Day of the Seafarer’ a day when we should celebrate seafarers, but this year, as world’s seafarers are let down by governments there is little to celebrate
This year the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), whose member unions represent 1.4 million of the world’s seafarers, acknowledges the International Day of the Seafarer, but will celebrate when seafarers are given the respect that they deserve.
The ITF has taken this decision because the world’s seafarers have been forgotten, and let down, by the governments across the globe - who failed to keep their borders open to seafarers throughout this pandemic. They have failed as port states, flag states, transit countries and even as the home countries of these seafarers.
Some governments are continuing to prevent more than 200,000 seafarers of their right to stop working when their contract has expired, from getting off the ships and returning home and even refused them access to necessary medical treatment and shore leave. Seafarers have rights as every other human does.
Seafarers are tired, fatigued and in many instances pushed beyond their physical and mental limits.
The crew change crisis is a humanitarian disaster.
Seafarers are professionals, proud of the work they do and their contribution to global prosperity and wellbeing of the world’s people. They look forward to a day when the world’s governments wake up, and recognise this contribution and treat seafarers with the dignity and respect that they deserve. Unfortunately, today is not that day.
Today is not a day for celebration. Today is a day for sombre reflection on how seafarers continue to be let down when they deserve so much more. The ITF and your unions stand with you – enough is enough.