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Appeal for vital medical care for seafarers

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has made a plea to all countries to ensure that seafarers get the medical care they need

A recent United Nationals report flagged out the lack of support for seafarers in need of urgent medical care. The report looked at incidents that happened throughout the pandemic period, where there were multiple instances of seafarers being denied entry on shore despite needing critical medical care.

Acknowledging seafarers as key workers
The ICS has made a call-to-action urging governments to stop hiding behind “force majeure” defences, which has made it convenient for countries to deny entry to seafarers who need urgent medical care. The International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Special Tripartite Committee has slammed the choice of governments, hinting that it was almost an abuse of human rights, “…’force majeure’ should not be regarded as a valid reason to deprive seafarers of their rights.”

Both the ICS and ILO are adamant that seafarers should be recognized by the world as key workers, as they are vital to the continuity of global trade and in relation, supply chains. The ILO’s committee warned that in the event of a shortage of seafarers due to untimely medical attention, it could potentially result in snapping the thin threads of the much-pressured global supply chains as crew change is critical and is deteriorating, especially with the ongoing Russia-Ukraine crisis.

According to ICS’s Principal Legal Director Kiran Khosla, “Throughout the pandemic, shipowners, with their ships and crew, have been keeping the world supplied with food, fuel and medicine.  But governments have been too slow to recognize seafarers as key workers, harming both their health and the health of global supply chains. Two years after the pandemic began, governments have no excuse for hiding behind force majeure.”



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