Give stranded seafarers urgent medical care

World Leaders

The global community is failing to protect seafarers in times of need.

Receiving medical care ashore can be a matter of life or death for seafarers who fall ill while working on ships. Yet sourcing emergency treatment for mariners has now become almost impossible.

Add your name to the ITF’s letter to governments around the world, urging them to grant access to vital medical care for seafarers in this pandemic.
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To: World Leaders
From: [Your Name]

We write to you today because urgent action is needed to give emergency medical care to seafarers.

Thousands upon thousands of our colleagues have been stuck at sea well beyond the length of their contracts — some for even more than a year.

Being stuck in limbo, unable to see loved ones, or go ashore for rest, has put mariners around the world under significant mental distress. Our colleagues are overworked and exhausted. Many are now at breaking point.

The global community is failing to protect seafarers in times of need.

While the rest of society slowed down during Covid-19, over 1 million seafarers continued to transport the food, energy and everyday essentials we need for our homes. Their tireless efforts kept vital medical supply lines open, even when their own health and well-being was at risk.

Receiving medical care ashore can be a matter of life or death for seafarers who fall ill while working on ships. Yet sourcing emergency treatment for mariners has now become almost impossible.

As new variants of the pandemic spread, many governments are refusing to grant access for seafarers to come ashore, regardless if they become ill because of non Covid-19 causes. This means ships must navigate far off course to reach a willing port, delaying treatment and recovery for workers.

This is unacceptable. Port and coastal states need to step up to the plate.

Governments cannot use the pandemic to refuse seafarers’ human rights, enshrined in international and national law. The medical treatment accessed by seafarers must be the same as what citizens can receive on land.

Port and coastal states must act now to:

1) Grant seafarers access to medical treatment ashore at every port of call, no matter the scenario and without any delay
2) Include seafarers in national Covid-19 vaccination programmes to ensure they can remain healthy and well.

Our voyage through this pandemic has been challenging and seafarers have endured immense hardship.

It’s time for governments to protect the crews who’ve sacrificed so much to keep our societies afloat.

Yours,
Stephen Cotton ITF General Secretary
Paddy Crumlin, ITF President
David Heindel, ITF Chair Seafarers

Co-signed by: