International Maritime Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) has earlier urged the governments all over the world to exempt seafarers from travel restriction amid coronavirus lockdown. They asked them to consider seafarers as ‘key workers’ and let the regular crew change operations work to ensure smooth working and crew welfare.
ITF had proposed a deadline of June 16, 2020 to the governments and shipping companies to undergo crew change operations and send the crew members whose employment contract have been completed home. But after several unsuccessful efforts, the deadline has arrived with over 200,000 seafarers stuck at sea, working beyond their contracts.
The ITF has, thus, asked the seafarers whose employment contracts have expired to stop working henceforth. They are asked to follow up their right to stop work, leave the ship and return to their own countries. The contracts are no longer allowed to be extended.
ITF President and Dockers’ Section chair Paddy Crumlin said the decision came after the seafarers stuck at sea complained of fatigued and depression. He said it is now the time to draw a line!