Specifically, the UK Chamber of Shipping came into contact with the Maritime Minister Kelly Tolhurst on 17 March and demanded the economic relief.
Following, the UK Chamber of Shipping Chief Executive Bob Sanguinetti stated that
Shipping is the lifeblood of our nation and we must do what we can as an industry to keep our supply lines open for a strong and healthy UK ... We recognise we are living in unprecedented times and we strongly urge the government to set up an emergency relief fund to help the industry in the coming weeks and months.
Mr. Sanguinetti added that immediate and ongoing financial support from the British Government is of great importance in the sector's efforts to ensure the importation of essential medical supplies, food, manufacturing components and other goods, and the future prospects of our seafarers.
To keep freight moving and to enable the UK to continue to function, the UK Chamber of Shipping is specifically asking for a multi-million pound fund for:
- Help with hugely reduced cash flows resulting from dramatic loss of business, to keep freight flowing into the country;
- Support with seafarers’ salaries in the short term to prevent job losses and loss of expertise;
- Grants to assist with the additional costs of virus provisions which operators have put in place;
- Grants to deal increased costs such as overtime, agency fees and any other cost associated with providing sufficient crew.
- Clear guidance to ports and local health authorities to allow ships to continue trading, and for the swift disembarkation / repatriation of crew members
- Delays on VAT payments
- The use of credit notes for future travel in lieu of refunding deposits
- Relief from income tax for seafarers onboard vessels which ordinarily spend over 183 days a year outside the country
- Ships laid up in UK ports to continue to receive tax and duty relief for standard supplies
- Assistance with the safe return of UK cruise passengers from around the world.