The International Transport Worker’s Federation (ITF) has said that enough is enough, and that the world’s seafarers will now exercise right to leave ships amid Covid-19 failures.
In a press release issued 15 June ITF states that they and their affiliated unions will be assisting hundreds of thousands of seafarers to exercise their right to stop working, leave ships, and return home, commencing 16 June.
This comes as a response to what they deem to be insufficient action by governments to designate seafarers as ‘key workers’. Seafarers have accepted contract extensions, been subject to travel restrictions, and been prevented from coming ashore throughout the pandemic, with some having been onboard for over a year.
With this the ITF is putting pressure on governments to allow exceptions to coronavirus restrictions for seafarers. ITF General Secretary Steve Cotton says “A few small changes by national governments would allow seafarers to get home, and be relieved by a fresh crew”.
The consequences if this situation goes without remedy will be severe. The impact to trade flows will be significant, and from an insurance perspective it may trigger breaches of safety regulations which will impair coverage.