In an effort to draw attention to the needs of the 150,000 seafarers trapped at sea by the COVID-19 shutdown, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) asked ships around the world to sound their horns when in port at 1200 local time on Labor Day, May 1.
Ships at anchorages and wharves from Singapore to Cuxhaven to New York answered the call, creating a symphony that caught the public's attention.
New data compiled by ICS and the International Maritime Employers’ Council (IMEC) shows that 150,000 seafarers are in need of crew change by 15 May. This number is up by 50 percent since ICS first raised the issue, and the association expects that it will continue to climb.
“Globally there are 1.2million seafarers onboard 65,000 ships at sea. For the past two months crew change has all but completely stopped. This means that crew have not been able to disembark or embark ships at port and terms have had to be extended, but this is not sustainable. International Workers’ Day is the ideal moment to recognise their contribution to fighting the coronavirus pandemic. We thank you," said Guy Platten, the secretary general of ICS.
Mariners, port officials and bystanders captured the moment on video in harbors around the world, uploading a record of mariners' solidarity to social media.