ITF calls for affiliates to share best practices in supporting seafarers during Covid-19 pandemic

Seafarer unions globally have been asked to share their government’s best practices on dealing with the Covid-19 global health emergency.

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) has written to its affiliates, including Nautilus, asking for a show of solidarity in ‘unprecedented times’.

The Seafarers’ section chair, vice-chairs and ITF Secretariat are working daily with a number of organisations representing industry and UN Agencies to lobby for the recognition of seafarers as the essential link in the logistics chain.

Ensuring seafarers are protected and can safely carry out their fundamental tasks, at a time when the ‘maritime industry, and in particular seafarers, are being severely impacted’.

Stringent legislations have been put in place in many countries, preventing seafarers from joining or leaving ships, and seafarers basic, fundamental rights have been taken away, putting their health and wellbeing at risk, the ITF said.

‘Seafarers are in the front line to ensure global trade continues to deliver essential goods to communities. However, because of the complexity of the flag of convenience system, in most cases they are not sufficiently protected by flag states or the countries of origin.

‘The Secretariat is aware of good initiatives, supported by ITF Affiliates, where governments have already taken measures in support of their national seafarers and or foreign seafarers calling in their ports. Examples such as the extension of certificates of validity, dedicated communication channels to reach out to families and the ability to take shore leave.

To support the Secretariat’s efforts to provide documented best practices and support global assistance to seafarers it is essential unions share the information they may hold, urged the ITF.

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