As ETF and ECSA continue to call on governments to immediately take coordinated steps to facilitate crew changes and ensure that seafarers can return home, national trade unions are also taking action.
Complimentary to our recent letter to the French government on crew changes, our affiliate, national French trade union CGT sent a letter to Annick Girardin, French Minister of the Sea. In the letter, they draw attention to the problems seafarers are facing due to COVID-19.
The letter drew the attention of Member of the French National Assembly, Sophie Panonacle who has, in turn, sent additional letters to the Minister of the Sea as well as the French Foreign and Europe Minister. In her letters, she lays out the problem and calls on the Ministers to take concrete steps by facilitating the issuance of visas, establishing sanitary corridors to facilitate the transit of seafarers, and calls for an impetus at European level for a high-level meeting in view of a joint intervention for better harmonisation and coordination of actions.
Seafarers play an essential role in maintaining the global flow of energy, food, medicines and medical supplies, but many have been on board their vessels since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, and this has led some of them to extreme medical, family and social situations.
The ETF and its affiliates are closely following the situation and continue to call on governments to take action, facilitate crew changes and bring our seafarers home.
The letters can be downloaded at your right.