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Seafarers Stranded on Ships Worldwide Could Affect Global Supply Chain

30th September 2020
As many as 400,000 seafarers are unable to leave ships worldwide because of Covid 19 travel restrictions in various countries As many as 400,000 seafarers are unable to leave ships worldwide because of Covid 19 travel restrictions in various countries

A serious emerging problem which could affect essential food and other supplies is not being dealt with according to the biggest shipping companies in the world.

The International Chamber of Shipping has asked the United Nations to intervene after releasing a new estimate that as many as 400,000 seafarers are unable to leave ships worldwide because of Covid 19 travel restrictions in various countries.

Norway's Prime Minister, Erna Solberg, told the United Nations General Assembly that there would be "a humanitarian and world trade crisis." She said that seafarers are stranded on ships around the globe because crew changes have been made practically impossible by countries closing their borders and restricting travel of seafarers to and from ships.

The Secretary-General of the United Nations has joined in the call for countries throughout the world to give seafarers "similar protections and rights to other essential workers."

Henriette Hallberg Thygesen, CEO Moller-Maersk, the container shipping giant, told the UN General Assembly. "Seafarers are vital to global supply chains, for food and all trade and especially medical supplies for #COVID19 response. I am worried that in respect of crew changes, little is going to change in most nations without action being taken at the very highest political level."

The United Nations has issued a reminder to all nations that they must observe the provisions in the code of its maritime agency, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to respect the rights of seafarers and their importance in maintaining world trade.

Published in Ports & Shipping
Tom MacSweeney

About The Author

Tom MacSweeney

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Tom MacSweeney writes a weekly column for Afloat.ie. He also presents the maritime radio programme This Island Nation on community radio stations around Ireland.

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