SeaBOS calls for governments to address vessel crew issues during COVID-19
SeaBOS, an organization made up of CEOs of 10 of the world’s largest seafood companies, has called on governments to address ongoing humanitarian issues vessel crews are facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the several months of the COVID-19 pandemic, crew members in the seafood and shipping industry have faced humanitarian, safety, and economic crises due to restrictions of movement onto and off of vessels, a press release by SeaBOS said. The organization is calling for government to intervene and help facilitate the movement of vessel crews to alleviate the crisis.
“It is vital to recognize seafarers as key workers, and have safe and speedy procedures with visa and quarantine exemptions, so crew changes can occur on vessels, globally,” Maruha Nichiro Chairman Shigeru Ito said. “We are supporting calls for governments to urgently address the crisis.”
Crews across the world have been stuck in overseas ports unable to disembark or leave port due to restrictions on travel. In some cases, due to inadequate crew on board, vessels have been stuck in port unable to leave for months.
“World supplies of seafood depend on people,” Skretting CEO and Vice-Chair of SeaBOS Therese Log Bergjord said. “There are an estimated 300,000 seafarers including fishing crew stranded at sea and in ports around the world, unable to return home, or go to sea. This crisis impacts everyone – shipping and fisheries are a crucial component of the global economy,”
Crew issues are also resulting in, according to SeaBOS, a number of companies being unable to supply markets that need seafood “either due to inability to move workers to and from vessels and aquaculture establishments, or from shipping delays and supply chain challenges.”
Those challenges will continue unabated without government intervention, the organization said.
“It is clear that international coordination and a holistic, cross-governmental approach is key to solving this challenge,” Thai Union CEO Khun Thiraphong Chansiri said.
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