On behalf of the whole European shipping industry, ECSA welcomes the resolution adopted by the United Nations General Assembly, calling for all countries to designate seafarers and other maritime workers as key workers, to implement relevant measures to allow stranded seafarers to be repatriated and others to join ships, and for the priority vaccination of seafarers.
Put forward by Indonesian UN ambassador Dian Triansyah Djani, the resolution was supported by 71 countries demanding global action by all governments around the world.
The resolution represents a significant step forward to resolving the global crew change crisis, that has left tens of thousands of seafarers stranded on their ships and other seafarers are unable to replace them, due to the international and national travel restrictions introduced following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Martin Dorsman, ECSA Secretary-General, said:
"Two million seafarers, including 555,000 working for European shipping, play a vital role in ensuring that global supply chains continue to run uninterrupted, despite the difficulties brought about by the pandemic.
"We thank the European Commission and various EU Member States for their hard work in pushing for seafarers to be designated as key workers - in order to help facilitate their direct or transit travels to and from ships - and we call upon all other EU Member States to do likewise, and also encourage non-EU countries to follow suit.”
ECSA also supports the call by the IMO for seafarers and other maritime workers to receive priority vaccination, so as to allow them to exercise their profession and maintain vital global supply chains. Combined with the key worker status, the expeditious vaccination for seafarers will present a big step forward in resolving the current crisis.
"With the Christmas season drawing closer, the European shipping industry is working with the EU institutions and Member States to ensure as many seafarers as possible can get to go home to join their families for the holidays," added Mr Dorsman.