For a Fair Shipping industry in Europe

Seafarers matter

28 Feb 2017

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How can we make the European maritime transport sector a generator of wealth and European jobs? That was one of the core topics of discussion at the Seafarers Matter Conference hosted by ETF on 28 February 2017, in the midst of the European Shipping Week (ESW). A preview of the long-awaited animated film called Seafarers Matter inspired round table discussions involving EU decision makers, academics, employers’ and seafarers’ representatives. 

The European Shipping Week offered an occasion for all maritime stakeholders to discuss the future of European maritime transport policies. With this conference ETF puts the spotlight on those who embody this future best: seafarers. The ESW would fall short if it were to overlook the crucial role played by the European seafaring workforce in ensuring the preservation of Europe’s maritime know-how and the vitality of maritime clusters across the EU.  

The conference aimed to enter into a vast debate on how to make the sector fair and strong at the same time. “The social aspects of shipping require continuous efforts; this is critical as Europe wants to preserve the employment of EU maritime related staff. The February 2017 Conference Seafarers Matter Conference is a unique opportunity to advocate for this twofold ambition” said Alain Vidalies, the French Minister for Transport, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries in a message sent from Paris. 

Taking place the day after a joint European maritime social partners’ event involving both ETF and ECSA, the Seafarers Matter Conference drew attention to the fact that solutions aimed at safeguarding and developing European maritime employment do not receive the attention they deserve.  

“Seafarers are by nature a very specific category of workers. But is it a reason for denying them the social protection and the labour rights they deserve to ensure the highest level of quality for the European shipping sector? The answer is clearly no. In order to enhance the blue economy that we are all calling for, we need a competitive sector that provides high standard of protection and training for the seafarers. In a globalised sector, Europe needs to show the path for the future of the shipping industry” said French MEP Elisabeth Morin-Chartier, one of the speakers at the event.  

In its vision for the future of European maritime transport, ETF offers concrete proposals to make tomorrow’s maritime sector fairer and a generator of wealth and jobs in shipping.

A longer version of this video is available on YouTube.