PortandTerminal.com, May 25, 2020
More than 200,000 seafarers are stranded on the world’s seas, and there is a risk of a “humanitarian crisis”, write several maritime industry associations.
NEW YORK – More than 200,000 seafarers are stranded aboard ships around the world and are unable to disembark due to the current border closures and restrictions that many countries still maintain because of the coronavirus outbreak.
The UN Secretary-General has been urged in a letter sent by global industrial and shipping leaders to persuade his 193 member states to act urgently to avoid a “humanitarian crisis”, with over 200,000 tired, mentally-stretched seafarers currently stuck working on vessels across the globe and unable to be relieved of their duties.
Their letter explained that “There are now over 200,000 seafarers onboard vessels worldwide who have completed their contractual tour of duty, but have been prevented from returning home. Many of these seafarers will be experiencing adverse effects on their mental health and reduced ability to safely perform their roles in the face of increasing fatigue.”
“Additionally, stringent restrictions imposed by many countries, including denial of shore leave and access to essential medical assistance, is contributing to fatigue and exhaustion. We are concerned about suicide and self-harm amongst this vulnerable population of workers.”
As thousands of seafarers face exhaustion at the helm of critical supply routes, the clock is ticking for governments.
The industry had previously agreed with workers’ representatives to two contract extensions beyond the usual regulated period for time onboard due to Covid-19, the leaders say this is “not a sustainable solution”.
“Time is running out. We ask action be taken immediately, ahead of 16 June 2020 – the final agreed deadline to implement crew changes for our seafarers.”
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