The ITF Seafarers’ Trust is marking World Maritime Day this week, by calling for more global recognition of the contribution seafarers have made during the Covid pandemic.
Despite multiple challenges and remaining a largely hidden workforce, seafarers have kept the global economy moving. Governments have been slow to offer assistance to the maritime sector particularly with regard to the crew change crisis or by offering key worker status so that seafarers can be prioritised for vaccination.
As well as supporting unions and welfare organisations with funding for their specific Covid projects, the Trust has also committed to providing a platform for the voices of seafarers during this period so that an insight is available into their life and work.
Head of the Trust Katie Higginbottom said: “To say that seafarers have kept the global economy moving during Covid is no exaggeration. Without them carrying on, through loneliness, home sickness, illness and uncertainty, the global supply chain would have ground to a total halt. What the Trust wants to see now is governments recognising that and living up to their responsibilities to seafarers through welfare provision and the appropriate legislative support.”
The Trust ran a photo competition earlier in the year to gather portraits of seafarers by seafarers, giving those on board the opportunity to tell their stories through images and personal accounts.
"World Maritime Day is a great opportunity for us to honour the contribution of seafarers. We’ve produced a commemorative book of some of the most powerful entries to our “Out of Sight, Not Out of Mind’ competition and those have now been distributed all over the world."
The 40 portraits book also links in with celebrations of the Trust's 40th anniversary this year.