During the COVID-19 pandemic majority of seafarers have no chance to return to the homeland. Recently, the United Nations` leaders of the maritime, labor and aviation agencies issued a petition concerning safety repatriation of marine crews.
The Marine industry faces the biggest crises for the last decade as plenty of seafarers are not able to fly back home and most of the shipowners forced to extend the contract on board ship. Therefore, International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), International Maritime Organization (IMO), and International Labor Organization (ILO) claim that there is an urgent need to replace the marine crews. Consequently, the international flights needs to be organized. According to International Maritime Organization, the action will take place the middle of June 2020. It is assumed that approximately 150,000 seafarers will reach home. In the wake of Covid-19 pandemic, many government have taken a serious actions such as closure and travel restriction which in turn tremendously affect «safe operation of maritime trade and wellbeing of seafarers» (http://www.imo.org/en/MediaCentre/PressBriefings/Pages/16-IMO-ICAO-ILO-joint-statement.aspx).
Moreover, the large numbers of seamen are under imprisonment in their vessels without being able to return home. The joint statement records that ICAO, IMO, ILO are willing to support the Government with the repatriation of the seafarers, “operations essential to maintain the global cargo supply chains and operations related to humanitarian aid, medical and relief flights
Furthermore, ICAO, IMO, ILO encourages marine workers, fishing vessel workers , offshore energy sector personnel, aircraft employees , air cargo supply chain personnel, employees at airports and ports to exempt from limiting condition/ measures in order to provide aid and assistance to ships crews.
ICAO, IMO, ILO and the World Health Organization (WHO) agreed on statement which says that vessels can unload and load in the ports and seafarers can be easily transferred through the country with the view to departure and documents approval. Crew repatriation will be controlled by IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim who approved series of maritime protocol ensures safe return.
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