Restrictions on crew change and repatriations are impacting cadets at a time when the shipping industry desperately needs to recruit more young people.
Crew travel problems can have a knock-on effect on cadet training by preventing a cadet from reaching their ship placement to gain vital experience at sea or delaying them from returning to continue the next phase of their maritime studies.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the professionalism and sacrifice of the two million seafarers who serve on the world’s merchant fleet. Shipping has continued to transport more than 80% of world trade,
including vital medical supplies, food and other basic goods that are critical for the COVID-19 response and recovery – but hundreds of thousands of seafarers face a humanitarian crisis as they have been stranded at sea, unable to get off the ships they operate with contracts extended by many months. This needs to be addressed urgently, through Governments designating seafarers as essential workers and ensuring safe crew changes can take place.
Jamaica gives thanks for its seafarers on World Maritime Day
On this World Maritime Day, organised by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), under the theme: "Seafarers: at the core of shipping’s future" I laud the professionalism, commitment and resilience of seafarers, male and female – both Jamaicans and other nationalities.
Rear Admiral (Ret’d) Peter Brady Director General, Maritime Authority of Jamaica
The World Maritime Day theme for 2021, "Seafarers: at the core of shipping’s future" as described by the International Maritime Organization ‘seeks to increase the visibility of seafarers by drawing attention to the invaluable role they play now and will continue to play in the future. Seafaring - a career that is over 5000 years old, is unbelievably a novelty in some minds. From the early Polynesian seafarers, and the first full circumnavigations of the globe, to explorers picking their way through the coral reefs of the West Indies, seafaring has existed.
Message by IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim
Ladies and gentlemen, As we begin a new year, the COVID-19 pandemic still holds sway, with many countries subject to lockdowns and travel restrictions.
The development of various vaccines offers the first gleams of hope, although for many seafarers, the situation is still desperate. Hundreds of thousands cannot leave ships; whilst many others cannot join. Abandonment of seafarers reached record levels in 2020. This humanitarian crisis threatens global trade and safe navigation.