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25 October 2020 The on-line newspaper devoted to the world of transports 03:23 GMT+1



September 25, 2020

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With the second wave of the pandemic the "slaves of the sea" seem to have even less chance of returning on the ground

The last count of the IMO: 400,000 seafarers are still stranded on ships without being able to be replaced by colleagues

It will be for their almost no economic relevance or because they're not even taken into account what resources electoral elections, a right to which they are often forced to renounce provided that they have it in their own country. Maybe that's why which, in the crisis triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic, to the seafarers are unanimously praised because in the moment have remained at their workplace, but no one does anything so that they can come home when their period of service is long over. Not for hours, but Months.

On June 25th, the day of celebration of the tenth "Day of the Seafarer", the event organized the UN's International Maritime Organization (IMO) for public opinion on the role of the 1.5 million maritime activities to ensure the well-being of communities, thanks to the sea workers who "heroically" they have done their hard work to ensure the transport of essential goods to deal with health emergency and to support billions of people.

Yesterday, World Maritime Day, the event IMO to highlight the importance of the year. maritime transport safety and conservation marine environment, still accolades to sea workers who do not stop operating even though contractually they should be at home. Feelings of gratitude this time expressed more muted, almost embarrassed. It will be because so far calls for governments to declare seafarers essential workers and thus facilitate the changing the crews of the ships did not have any results.

These invitations were not met by almost all nations, including those that proudly declare themselves to be maritime vocation such as Italy, where it seems that the role of government representatives to attend events and inaugurations and to distribute slices of economic resources, but not to work to ensure that a problem that cannot be solved with the presence or with the promise of money if nothing else comes Faced. On this issue, Italy is so evanescent that remains but try with a spiritual sitting (Paola De Micheli, if you're going to hit it!).

If before we were talking about 300,000 seafarers unable to disembark and go home, the last count of the IMO is of 400,000 still stranded on ships without being able to be replaced by Colleagues. Among them are people who have been at sea for 17 years now months, six months more than the limit imposed by the convention ILO on maritime work. To these, of course, add another 400,000 seafarers unable to reach ships to replace them.

"I would like to invite each of you -- said the commander Hedi Marzougui speaking yesterday at a high-level event in United Nations on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly - to think how you would feel if you had to work every day for 12 hours, no weekend, without seeing your loved ones and stranded at sea. Now to you add that you have to do it without having any idea when you will be repatriated."

If you don't think about people, at least think about the effects of a possible disruption of the supply chains caused by maritime claims caused by more than tired workers. This seems to be the invitation of the Secretary General of the IMO, Kitack Lim, representatives of the shipping industry, trade unions, governments and the United Nations same online event: "to overly fatigued seafarers and mentally exhausted - explained Lim - is asked to continue to sail the ships. For more than 60,000 ships merchants who continue to deliver essential goods, food and medicines , he stressed, safety is at risk equal to the lives of seafarers who are made impossible. In danger -- he denounced -- there is the safety of the navigation.'

Repeated, but unheard, appeals to allow changes in ship crews may be in a pessimism. That's why it appears certain that if the second wave of the pandemic taking place probably will not result in extensive economic asset freezes like those imposed to contain the first wave, seafarers instead they won't tread the ground until a vaccine curbs or it will stop the virus.

Bruno Bellio

PSA Genova Pra'



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