An urgent call for all seafarers to be granted shore leave from the Vatican has been backed by Stella Maris.
The global charity supported the message after the Vatican claimed that many seafarers were still being denied shore leave, despite being fully vaccinated.
The message, made ahead of sea Sunday on 10 July, also stated that governments must no longer use the pandemic ‘as an excuse’.
'As long as they take the necessary precautions, seafarers have the right to put their feet on dry ground and meet people other than their colleagues on board,' Cardinal Michael F Czerny SJ, prefect of the Vatican's Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development said.
He added that despite many countries opening their borders and allowing free travel, seafarers were still subject to restrictions.
'This discrimination is as unjust as it is immoral,' Cardinal Czerny argued.
Stella Maris UK chief executive officer Martin Foley emphasised that seafarers have shore leave as a right, as set out in the 2006 Maritime Labour Convention.
'In Stella Maris UK’s experience, what frustrates our chaplains and ship visitors is the inconsistency with which leave is allowed or not.
'Shore leave is so important to the psychological wellbeing of seafarers. Stella Maris UK is collating instances of seafarers being denied shore leave so we can bring these to those who have the authority to investigate it,' Mr Foley said.