2020 campaign – Seafarers are Key Workers
Seafarers are on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic, playing an essential role in maintaining the flow of vital goods, such as food, medicines and medical supplies. However, the crisis has led to difficult working conditions for seafarers, including uncertainties and difficulties about port access, re-supply, crew changeovers and repatriation.
This year, the Day of the Seafarer campaign calls on Member States to recognize seafarers as key workers – and to provide them with the support, assistance and travel options open to all key workers during the pandemic.
The 2020 Day of the Seafarer campaign pays tribute to seafarers, acknowledging their sacrifice and the issues they face. Many seafarers have been away from home for months and are unsure when they will be able to return home due to travel restrictions.
The campaign also seeks to raise awareness of the work achieved by seafarers in response to the pandemic and to thank them for their contribution. Everyone is invited to recognize that the ability of seafarers to deliver vital goods is central to responding to, and eventually overcoming, this pandemic.
The campaign encourages everyone to treat seafarers with the respect and dignity they deserve so that they can continue to provide their vital services to keep world trade moving.
Message from IMO Secretary-General
In his Day of the Seafarer message, IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim highlights the unique and essential work of seafarers. “Just like other key workers, seafarers are on the front line in this global fight. They deserve our thanks. But they also need – and deserve – quick and decisive humanitarian action from governments everywhere, not just during the pandemic, but at all times”, Mr. Lim said.
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has thanked and saluted seafarers everywhere for their work, and urged all countries in the world to honour seafarers by recognizing them as key workers and providing the necessary travel assistance to ensure safe crew changeovers and repatriations (download message from UN Secretary-General here.).
Webinar “Seafarers are Key Workers: Essential to Shipping, Essential to the World”
In support of the Day of the Seafarer campaign, a webinar on the theme “Seafarers are key workers: Essential to shipping, essential to the world” was held on Friday 26 June.
The webinar addressed issues seafarers are facing during the pandemic, including crew changes and repatriation.
“Get our hero seafarers home” was the plea from panelists, who highlighted that governments have the power to solve a growing humanitarian crisis and must take action to bring seafarers home and allow their relief crews to join ships.
IMO, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) urged countries to implement protocols on safe crew changes developed by the maritime industry and circulated by IMO.
A recording of the full webinar can be viewed here.
As in previous years, the Day of the Seafarer campaign is centered on social media.
The 2020 campaign hashtag is: #SeafarersAreKeyWorkers
This hashtag can be used by anyone engaging in the campaign to pay tribute to seafarers and thank them for their important role in these unusual times.
Seafarers themselves can use it to showcase their own position at the front line of this global crisis and share their experience with the rest of the world.
Shipping companies and port organizations are also invited to show their appreciation for seafarers.
Source and graphics: imo.org