April 9, 2020
The world has changed dramatically in the last several months as the world has come together to collectively protect each other from COVID-19. While governments have restricted the assembly and movements of their citizens, seafarers continue servicing these countries and their people with food, fuel, raw materials, finished goods and the equipment and medicines need to fight this invisible enemy.
Restrictions around the world prevent merchant ships from entering ports, prevent them from taking supplies, receiving medical attention and performing necessary crew changes. Forcing crew to remain onboard for extended periods or to go without appropriate medical care increases the fatigue, anxiety, and stress of these critical workers.
Industry bodies around the world are voicing their support for governments to allow the cross-border movement of seafarers. As the largest network of professional women in shipping, trading and logistics around the world, WISTA International calls on all nations to officially recognize seafarers as “key workers” to be granted exemptions from travel restrictions and to receive medical attention when needed. We strongly support special considerations that enable these critical workers to join and leave their ships and return home without impediment, while complying with good practice in infection control.
Furthermore, WISTA International calls on our members and the maritime community to support the “Emergency Funding for Developing World Seafarers” campaign benefiting the International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN), a UK registered charity. All funds gathered will be dispersed through their Seafarers Emergency Fund (SEF).