During a virutal meeting of major shipping bodies, there were discussed several pressing issues that the industry is currently dealing with.
Among others, the lack of international recognition for seafarers as ‘key workers’, was at the top of the agenda.
In light of the crew change crisis and seafarers' repatriation, BIMCO along with INTERCARGO, International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), and INTERTANKO sent a joint open letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, urging him to use his influence as the world’s leading retail entrepreneur, whose business relies upon global shipping and take a stand for the 400.000 stranded seafarers.
As the letter highlighted:
"As one of the world’s most prominent entrepreneurs, you have unparalleled influence, which we hope you will use to join us in pushing public recognition of seafarers as key workers, and champion the cause at the highest levels of government, including in the United States with the incoming Biden administration.
You have the power to make a real difference for 400,000 dedicated professionals whose self-sacrifice is keeping the world’s marketplace running. Without these seafarers, global trade as we know it would simply cease to exist".
In addition, the industry Round Table meeting focused on the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccinations. Namely, organizations discussed the issue of ensuring that seafarers – who should be treated as key workers – receive vaccinations efficiently and as soon as possible.
As explained, members of the Round Table felt that there is a risk that sailors could be forgotten again, if there is not a specific programme put in place to vaccinate seafarers as a priority.
Without immediate action from industry and governments around the world, 2021 will be a year of slow and complicated recovery. For an industry which supports the vast majority of global trade and lies at the heart of viable economic recovery, this represents an unacceptable future. It is of the utmost importance that seafarers are more widely recognised as key workers and prioritised for vaccinations.
...as the organizations stated.
Concluding, the meeting addressed the importance of the shipping industry controlling its GHG emissions and wider impact on the environment and pledged to urgently work towards a sustainable and equitable future for all.
Click herebelow to read the letter: