Liverpool Seafarers Centre has asked the United Nations (UN) to act on the crew change crisis, warning that it is having a devastating impact on the mental health of seafarers.
The ecumenical charity chose World Maritime Day, Thursday 24 September, as a symbolic occasion to demand action for the 300,000 seafarers currently trapped aboard their vessels due to Covid-19 travel restrictions and the equal number who are unable to reach their ships and earn money for their families. This year's World Maritime Day also coincides with a UN debate on global governance after Covid-19.
Liverpool Seafarers Centre chief executive John Wilson said it was increasingly urgent to resolve the crisis and called on churchgoers to continue remember in their prayers those who make a living from the sea as well as lobbying their MP to act to end their plight.
'Six months into the pandemic, we see no end in sight for the thousands of seafarers trapped onboard ships long beyond the time their contracts should have ended,' he said.
'The pandemic has highlighted how essential these roles are, with the shipping industry continuing to transport medical supplies, food and other goods while many of us stayed at home. They helped us and now the seafarers need our help to help them get home.
'The seafarers we have visited from Liverpool Seafarers Centre describe feeling forgotten and abandoned, left missing their relatives and living in cramped conditions. Just last week, we saw a crew leave Liverpool for home after 366 days at sea – a situation that is completely unacceptable.
'We are calling on governments to do what they said they would and help these vital workers return home.'