SEAFARERS have been among the hardest hit during the COVID-19 pandemic with many separated from their families for more than a year and some left abandoned on vessels due to the crew change crisis in multiple ports.

ITF chair of trustees Dave Heindel said, “To say that seafarers have kept the global economy moving during COVID is no exaggeration. Without them carrying on, through loneliness, home sickness, illness and uncertainty, the global supply chain would have ground to a total halt. What the Trust wants to see now is governments recognising that and living up to their responsibilities to seafarers through recognition of key worker status, access to vaccines and facilitated crew change with the appropriate legislative support”.

The Seafarers’ Trust has committed to giving a platform to the voices of seafarers during this challenging period providing an insight into their life and work. The trust ran a photo competition earlier in the year to gather portraits of seafarers by seafarers, giving those on board the opportunity to tell their stories through images and personal accounts.

Seafarers’ Trust head Katie Higginbottom said,  the past 18 months of the coronavirus pandemic have been some of the hardest times for seafarers in living memory.

“World Maritime Day is a great opportunity for us to honour the contribution of seafarers,” she said.

“We’ve produced a commemorative book of some of the most powerful entries to our ‘Out of Sight, Not Out of Mind’ competition and those have now been distributed all over the world to highlight seafarers’ voices to the people and leaders who can act on some of the changes needed.”

The ITF Seafarers’ Trust is a UK-based charity that funds programs that advance the wellbeing of maritime workers, seafarers and their families.