Campaigners invited to make the most of Seafarers Awareness Week (6-12 July)

June 11, 2020

This year Seafarers UK’s annual campaign to raise awareness of seafarers will focus on the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on the families of merchant seafarers, including those stranded on vessels around the world.

Government restrictions on disembarkation, inappropriate quarantine requirements and limited repatriation flights – coupled with the failure of some countries to even recognise seafarers as keyworkers – has led to hundreds of thousands of crew members being compelled to work for months past their contract end dates, with many others prevented from leaving their home nations to earn a living at sea.

Fatigue; isolation; no access to Seafarers Centres in ports or medical facilities ashore; infrequent communications with loved ones – all are taking their toll on the physical and mental health of seafarers. Many are at their lowest ebb. Some have taken their own lives and others are contemplating suicide. Thankfully many loud voices – including unions – are speaking up on their behalf. But Seafarers UK wants to ensure that seafarers’ families are not overlooked at this time of crisis.

The charity has invited a wide range of UK-based organisations to support the campaign by taking these three steps:

Promote concern for the families of merchant seafarers by using a free social media ‘toolkit’* to enhance activities on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and other social media channels

Share stories, ideally with photos or video, about the wide-ranging impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on the families of merchant seafarers. Seafarers UK will publish the most emotive of these here and actively promote that website.

Send Nick Harvey press releases and other communications supporting calls for governments to recognise merchant seafarers as vital keyworkers who should be exempted from unnecessary restrictions that prevent them leaving/joining ships.