Joint statement Covid19 and seafarers

To All V.Ships Seafarers and their Families

Our ship management and crewing teams continue to work hard to undertake crew changes onboard your vessels in the face of many challenges imposed by national governments.

Despite these ongoing challenges, we have reduced the number of you who are on overdue contracts from a peak of 34%, down to 15%. We all agree that this is still not acceptable, and we continue to work with various global agencies to influence governments and related businesses.

Earlier this month, a joint statement was issued by the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR), the UN Global Compact and the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights calling on governments to immediately recognise seafarers as key workers, and to take action to remove the obstacles to crew changes.

The statement, ‘The COVID-driven humanitarian crisis of seafarers: A call for action under the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights’, was sent to all governments and businesses and we welcome this statement as part of our ongoing efforts to ensure the essential role that you play is fully recognised.

Although I attach the full UN statement, below are some key extracts from the statement:

‘The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is continuing to put our societies to the test, exposing profound inequalities and injustices and deepening existing human rights protection gaps. The situation of workers of the international shipping industry stranded at sea because of the pandemic, which UN agencies have recently qualified as a “humanitarian crisis”, requires an urgent and concrete response from all actors involved –including the business sector.

‘However, seafarers have become collateral victims of COVID-19-related measures imposed by Governments. These include travel bans, embarkation and disembarkation restrictions or suspension in the issuance of travel documents, which have severely strained the working conditions in the global shipping sector.

‘The OHCHR, the UN Global Compact and the UN Working Group on Business Rights call upon all relevant business enterprises to discharge their human rights responsibilities to address the current humanitarian crisis in the shipping industry in accordance with the UN Guiding Principles………’

Despite the many difficulties we face, we continue to maximise our number of crew changes, and target is to relieve a lot more of you in the upcoming weeks and thereby reach 10% by the end of October. That is still 10% to many and we will not rest until you are all relieved.

In the meantime, many thanks to you all. Stay safe!

Allan Falkenberg

Chief Executive Officer

Crew Management, V.Group

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