Amid an ongoing crew change crisis which has left hundreds of thousands of seafarers trapped onboard ships, the IMO took the opportunity of the World Human Rights Day, on 10 December, to send a strong call for their fundamental rights to be respected.
IMO is highlighting the plight of the hundreds of thousands of seafarers who are still stranded at sea, and has issued a strong call for their fundamental rights to be respected.
This is in line with this year’s celebration of UN Human Rights Day, which puts the global spotlight on the importance of human rights in the post-COVID recovery.
It is estimated that 400,000 seafarers are currently stranded on ships beyond the end of their original contracts and unable to be repatriated, due to COVID-related travel restrictions. Some have now been working at sea for over 18 months, well beyond the 11-month limit set out in ILO’s MLC. A similar number of seafarers are stuck at home, unable to join ships and provide for their families.
The longer you stay out there, the more fatigued you get physically. The hours start to add up, the weeks and months start to add up and you get very tired and you are not as sharp as you are when you are doing your normal stint,
…says Captain Hedi who was also trapped at sea with his crew.
In a statement issued on Human Rights Day, IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim invited everyone in the logistics and supply chains to stand up for human rights across the maritime sector.
Sadly, we have seen human rights of seafarers, fishers and other marine workers put in jeopardy during the pandemic. This is a clear human rights issue. This is causing immense strain, fatigue and exhaustion and is unsustainable,
…Mr Lim said.