Dry cargo ship owners stepped up for seafarers as ships around the world honked their horns for International Labour Day on May 1 in support of the #HeroesAtSea social media campaign.
Global dry bulk shipowner organisation INTERCARGO has acknowledged it is 'more important than ever to remember the critical role played by seafarers in continuing to transport food, medicines and other essential goods during the Covid-19 pandemic.
'Seafarers must not be forgotten in these extraordinary times,' said chairman Dimitris Fafalios, as the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) and the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) also piled on pressure on governments not to ignore the plight of thousands of tired seafarers needing repatriation and crew changes.
'The issue of crew change must be at the top of the industry’s agenda,' said Mr Fafalios.'Seafarers are amongst the world's key workers, vital to the global transportation chain. All maritime nations, ports and airports should, as a matter of urgency, permit the travel in/out and sign-on/off of seafarers, with the necessary safety procedures, allowing them to join from and repatriate to their countries of residence with seafarer's documents and without visas, while the consulates are closed in the seafarers’ countries of residence.
'Without efficient crew changes, the supply chain would break down leading to basic product shortages and greater hardships for people around the world,' added Mr Fafalios.
The bulk carrier industry supports close to 12,000 vessels employing over 300,000 seafarers globally.
Dr Kostas Gkonis, secretary gneral of INTERCARGO calls on the sector to support the #HeroesAtSeaShoutOut campaign. 'If your vessel is in port and it is safe to do so, then please sound your ship’s horn at 1200 LT on May 1 to show consolidated support around the world for the many seafarers who cannot be with their loved ones at this time of global uncertainty.'