The campaign to highlight the experiences of seafarers during the Covid pandemic has taken a leap forward this Day of the Seafarer as the winner of the ITF Seafarers’ Trust portrait competition is announced.
“Out of Sight Not Out of Mind” invited seafarers of all nationalities to submit images of themselves or colleagues to the Trust, giving a window into what life has been like for them during the pandemic.
The winner is being named on Day of the Seafarer as Aljon Manlangit from The Philippines. His portrait on board a vessel at Kavkaz OPL, Taman, Russia shows fellow crew mate, Wendell Pindeda after work on the Intert Gas System. Behind this image is the sad, but all too common, story of a father’s self-sacrifice. After his first contract as an engine boy, Wendell embarked again after less than 3 weeks in his home country spent entirely in the quarantine facility of his province.
Speaking from Philippines, Manlangit added: “Winning this competition really means a lot. It will boost my confidence and inspire me to take great and meaningful shots. And having my photo on the cover of the book about seafarers makes me feel very proud. I can now finally share my photos and tell our story to the world. I hope people will see it and recognise the work and sacrifice that we make to keep this world moving forward even at this time of pandemic.”
Chair of the ITF Seafarers’ Trust, David Heindel spoke of the competition as an opportunity for seafarers to have their contributions recognised: “So often we take for granted that goods will just keep moving around the world, but to do that, to keep the global economy running, seafarers are absolutely vital and the industry and governments have an obligation to meet their needs. Not only during the pandemic but every day!”
According to the Head of the Trust, Katie Higginbottom, “The Seafarers Trust, working with partner unions and seafarers' welfare organisations, have supported seafarers through the pandemic and this includes gathering and sharing their stories so that their contribution and experience during this time is not lost and we can use it to help build a fairer future for seafarers – the theme of this year’s DOTS.
"Through this competition we've been able to get a snapshot of what seafarers have been dealing with during this period - the highs and the lows. it's really a powerful selection of images and we're so proud to be able to share them today."
It’s not the first Trust photo initiative of this kind. Thousands of seafarers entered the ‘Still at Sea’ competition in 2020 which captured images of life at the height of the global pandemic.
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Notes to editors
About the Trust
The ITF Seafarers Trust is a UK charity established in 1981, funds programmes that advance the wellbeing of maritime workers, seafarers and their families. We are funded by the Trust’s own capital funds, and by the investment income of the Welfare Fund at the International Transport Workers Federation, a global federation of transport workers’ unions representing nearly 20 million members.
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Day of the Seafarer
The ITF Seafarers’ Trust has financially supported the Day of the Seafarer since 2016
2021 campaign - Fair Future for Seafarers
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, seafarers found themselves both on the front line of the global response and subject to difficult working conditions surrounding uncertainties and difficulties around port access, re-supply, crew changeovers, repatriation, etc.
In light of this, the 2020 Day of the Seafarer campaign focused its message around urging governments to recognize seafarers as key workers and ease travel restrictions for them to facilitate crew changes.
The 2021 Day of the Seafarer campaign will continue to encourage governments to support seafarers amid the pandemic but will expand its message, calling for a fair future for seafarers.
From STILL AT SEA to OUT OF SIGHT, NOT OUT OF MIND: 40 portraits of seafarers by seafarers
Seafarers are often described as the lifeblood of the maritime industry but it can seem that ‘out of sight’ is ‘out of mind’. Last year, under the heading STILL AT SEA, the ITF Seafarers’ Trust launched a seafarers’ photography competition to engage with the hundreds of thousands of seafarers caught up in the crew change crisis as states closed their borders and airlines ground to a halt.
The thousands of images and captions submitted form a unique archive and insight into the daily lives of seafarers on all manner of vessels from passenger-less cruise ships to tankers and container ships. They convey the drama, the danger, the boredom, the fun and the camaraderie of seafaring. They express the longing for home, the missed moments of family life, the solace in spiritual reflection and the enormous pride in the profession. Forty portraits selected from the second competition ‘OUT OF SIGHT, NOT OUT OF MIND’ will be used to create a limited edition book to raise awareness amongst ministers, legislators and key stakeholders with an influence over the lives of seafarers.
The seafarers in these portraits challenge you to see them as individuals; people who take pride in their work, have aspirations to lead fulfilling lives, and have families that depend on them. The last two years have tested their resilience and made them question their positions as maritime professionals in the global shipping industry. The disregard shown by many states in facilitating crew change and securing seafarers’ protection against the pandemic has raised many questions amongst seafarers as to whether their sacrifices and hard work are adequately recognized and rewarded.