To mark World Maritime Day 2021 on 30 September, the ITF Seafarers' Trust is calling for greater recognition for seafarers – the 'hidden global workforce' – and for governments to live up to their responsibilities.
Chair of Trustees Dave Heindel said: 'To say that seafarers have kept the global economy moving during Covid is no exaggeration. Without them carrying on, through loneliness, home sickness, illness and uncertainty, the global supply chain would have ground to a total halt.
'What the Trust wants to see now is governments recognising that and living up to their responsibilities to seafarers through recognition of key worker status, access to vaccines and facilitated crew change with the appropriate legislative support.'
As well as supporting unions and welfare organisations with funding for their specific Covid projects, the Trust has also committed to giving a platform to the voices of seafarers during this challenging period, providing an insight into their life and work.
To that end the Trust ran a photo competition earlier in the year to gather portraits of seafarers by seafarers, giving those onboard the opportunity to tell their stories through images and personal accounts. It has produced a commemorative book of 40 portraits from the winning entries.
Head of the Trust Katie Higginbottom said: 'The last eighteen months of the coronavirus pandemic have been some of the hardest times for seafarers in living memory. World Maritime Day is a great opportunity for us to honour the contribution of seafarers. We've produced a commemorative book of some of the most powerful entries to our Out of Sight, Not Out of Mind competition and those have now been distributed all over the world to highlight seafarers' voices to the people and leaders who can act on some of the changes needed.'
The 40 portraits book also links in with celebrations of the Trust's 40th anniversary this year.