ECSA joined forces with the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) to send a letter to the European Commissioners asking for special measures to ensure those working in the shipping industry will be protected during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Specifically, both organizations call the EU to ensure that the shipping industry and the maritime transport workers can play their role in supporting the EU economy to the fullest extent possible, and that the social, operational and economic impacts of the crisis are reduced as much as possible.
Both ECSA and ETF ask the Commissioners to issue a proposal to the Council for political agreement regarding designated ports for crew disembarkation and crew changes, in line with the conditions set, inter alia geographical spread, capacity, proximity to health facilities and international airports.
The letter was addressed to the European Commissioner for Transport, Adina Vălean, the European Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič, the European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides, the European Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders, and the High Representative of the EU, Josep Borrell Fontelles.
The letter applauds the EU’s guidelines on protection of health, repatriation and travel arrangements for seafarers, passengers and other persons on board ships. It should be highlighted that in the guidelines, the EU proposed the designation of specific ports for fast-track crew changes.
We are very pleased to notice that this need for a broad definition of maritime workers was recognised and included in the guidelines,
… the letter reads.
Both partners noted the importance of seafarer repatriation, who currently remain stranded in third countries or on vessels that have been unable to obtain permission to dock.