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Trust joins major maritime partners to document life at sea during the pandemic

15 March 2021

The ITF Seafarers’ Trust is joining forces with the UK National Maritime Museum and Mission to Seafarers to document life at sea during the covid pandemic.

Oral histories will be recorded from seafarers around the world with the help of maritime unions.

Katie Higginbottom, Head of the ITF Seafarers’ Trust, said: “We’re delighted to support the National Maritime Museum Greenwich in this worthy endeavour. Our friends from the maritime unions around the world all know about Greenwich and were excited to participate in making the collection truly representative of today’s seafarers.

“The stories of seafarers are too often unheard. Working with ITF Seafarers’ Trust and Mission to Seafarers, testimony from across the globe will be recorded and enter the permanent collection at the National Maritime Museum, so future generations can also learn, study and understand the impact of this pandemic on the global maritime sector.”

Union representatives affiliated with the ITF will receive online training on best practice for gathering oral histories before collecting the experiences of seafarers during coronavirus from their local communities in The Philippines, Indonesia, Ukraine, Hong Kong and India.

Chaplains associated with the Mission to Seafarers will also be trained once lockdown restrictions are lifted to record the stories of seafarers from across the globe who play a vital role in bringing essential goods into UK port.

The plight of seafarers has recently been addressed in the Neptune Declaration. Over 700 organisations, including the ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) and the ITF Seafarers’ Trust have signed the declaration, calling for an international commitment to resolving the crew change crisis as soon as possible and building a more resilient maritime supply chain. The National Maritime Museum will be signing the Neptune Declaration on Monday 15 March as part of its commitment to supporting the maritime sector and seafarers today.

This subject is also raised in the exhibition Exposure: Lives at Sea, a contemporary photography exhibition at the National Maritime Museum, displaying the myriad ways people interact with the sea.

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