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United Nations adopts resolution on key worker status of seafarers

United Nations adopts resolution on key worker status of seafarers

The United Nations has adopted a resolution that calls on its members to designate seafarers and other marine personnel as key workers and implement relevant measures to allow stranded seafarers.


The UN stressed the need for an immediate and meaningful response from all stakeholders, including the private sector to address the crew change crisis resulting from the pandemic's implementation of national travel restrictions around the globe.

At the 75th session of the UN General Assembly held on 1 December, the resolution entitled 'International collaboration to resolve the difficulties faced by seafarers as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic to sustain global supply chains' was introduced.

“Sadly, hundreds of thousands of seafarers, who are vital to maintaining supply chains, remain stranded at sea for months beyond their contracted time. This is causing immense strain, fatigue and exhaustion and is unsustainable. I hope that this call to action will result in positive momentum to resolve the crew change crisis,” International Maritime Organization (IMO) Secretary-General Kitack Lim stated.

The document supports the adoption of IMO-recognized protocols by governments and related stakeholders to ensure safe ship crew shifts and travel during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) welcomed the resolution, noting that it was an important step in acknowledging the critical role played by 2,000,000 sailors in the worldwide transport of food, medicine, energy supplies and other vital raw materials.

“The International Chamber of Shipping understands that 44 UN member states currently classify seafarers as ‘key workers’. While this resolution is a positive step, clearly there is much more to be done. Governments must now leverage their considerable power to persuade others to follow suit and classify their seafarers as key workers," Guy Platten, Secretary-General of the ICS stated.

Maritime Business World 

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