Republic of the Marshall Islands warns companies about treating seafarers
The Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), with more than 4,700 vessels and nearly 100,000 seafarers working on RMI-flagged vessels, encourages countries to identify and protect seafarers as key transport staff in the midst of restrictions around the cor
Seafarers play an important role in transporting not only food and household goods but also coal, medicine, equipment and vital supplies during times of crisis.
Although there are lists of measures to be taken in order to avoid receiving COVID-19, and concern for those experiencing its effects or in quarantine, little attention is paid to seafarers who keep moving global shipping.
In an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19, several countries have placed travel bans and limits on crew changes. The unintended effect of these travel bans is the avoidance of the ships ' crews changing; either joining a ship or relieving crews and going home to their families.
The RMI Registry has received many reports from operators and individual seafarers saying repatriation avoidance adds to their emotional burden and adversely affects their well-being. Normally seafarers spend several months away from their families. Family reunions have been postponed much further because of this pandemic.
The technological nature of ships and the dangerous conditions in which they work involves the expertise of officers and crew onboard to ensure the health of the vessel, its cargo and the seafarers. Extended service on board, combined with the stress on COVID-19 and its impact on them and their families at home, can lead to a risk to safety on board.
To this end, the RMI Registry completely endorses Circular Letter No. 4224, issued by the International Maritime Organization's Secretary-General, as well as the decision taken by the UK Government to appoint seafarers as key transport staff. During this pandemic, the RMI Registry remains ready to engage in a constructive dialog with all stakeholders to alleviate the plight of seafarers.
Maritime Business World