The associations – the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), Bimco, Intertanko and Intercargo – have written to Bezos pointing out that seafarers underpin the movement of 90% of world trade, but that an estimated 400,000 are currently stuck aboard ships unable to undergo crew change because of the pandemic.

They are asking the head of the world’s leading retailer to publicly recognise the role of seafarers as ‘key workers’, a move which they say other consumer giants like Unilever and Procter & Gamble have already made.

“2020 has been one of the most challenging years for the world in recent times. But we have seen companies like Amazon increasing their profits thanks to a great extent to the actions of seafarers who have kept trade flowing,” commented ICS chairman Esben Poulsson, who chaired the meeting.

“We now need leaders like Jeff Bezos to raise their voices in support of the many seafarers who despite being in effect trapped by the crew change crisis have continued to perform their duties.”

Also discussed by the Round Table was the issue of Covid-19 vaccines, which it was felt seafarers should be among the first to receive in their rightful capacity as ‘key workers’.

Source: Seatrade Maritime