The move is expected across the industry, as the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and its global network of national member associations and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and its 215 seafarers’ unions are calling on seafarers across the world to sound their ships’ horns when in port at that time.
International Workers' Day – or Workers' Day, May Day or Labour Day – is recognized in many countries around the world to acknowledge the contribution made by workers across the world.
ITF and ICS are encouraging the gesture to recognize over 1.6 million seafarers across the world who are keeping countries supplied with food, fuel and important supplies such as vital medical equipment not only through the COVID-19 pandemic, but every day. Guy Platten, Secretary General of the ICS said “Our seafarers are the unsung heroes of global trade and we must not forget the contribution that they are making every day to keep our countries supplied with the goods that we need. The sounding of a ships’ horn in ports on the day that the world recognizes the contribution of workers is an ideal way to remind us all of their sacrifice. They are all Heroes at Sea.”
Stephen Cotton, General Secretary, International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) said “Governments should see this as a call to action to facilitate crew changes and the free movement of seafarers so that they can continue to keep supply chains moving in these unprecedented times.”
The ICS and ITF have produced letters of authorization to help seafarers and authorities recognize the key worker status of transport workers operating with legitimate authority. Shipping companies can the use the facilitation letter template, copy the text on company headed paper, fill in the seafarer’s individual details and share the filled in certificate with each of their affected seafarers, provided they have undergone the required medical screening.