High world retailers are working to alleviate the seafaring disaster because of the coronavirus

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Small fishing boats pass in front of a cargo ship in Georgetown

By Jonathan Saul

LONDON (Reuters) – Over 300 leading companies said Tuesday they would work together to help hundreds of thousands of merchant ships stuck on ships for many months due to COVID-19 in a crisis that could add further dangers at sea.

About 90% of world trade is transported by sea, and coronavirus restrictions in many countries are affecting supply chains.

In December, the UN General Assembly called on all countries to designate seafarers and other maritime personnel as key personnel. Nonetheless, the ship’s crews still have difficulty communicating with colleagues on land.

Shipping industry officials say many seafarers are at the breaking point and many have been at sea for longer than an 11 month period set out in a maritime labor convention.

The companies, which include shipping groups like AP Moller Maersk, are miners Anglo-American (LON 🙂 and Rio Tinto (NYSE :), the oil companies BP (NYSE 🙂 and Royal Dutch Shell (LON 🙂 as well as the trading companies Cargill, Trafigura and Vitol will promote the exchange of information as signatories of the “Neptune Declaration”. Initiative.

“We all have a duty of care towards seafarers,” said Kit Kernon, Vitol’s global director of shipping.

“Your well-being is critical to safe and efficient operation.”

The signatories will also increase collaboration between shipowners and charterers to expedite crew changes while demanding key seafarer status.

“We are experiencing a humanitarian crisis at sea,” said Jeremy Nixon, executive director of the ONE shipping group.

“They have become hostages to the situation and can no longer disembark from their ships.”

Sven Boss-Walker, BP’s senior vice president of shipping, said the “distant nature of their roles has meant their contributions are often out of sight and out of their mind”.

“It’s important that the industry comes together to respond together,” added Ashley Howard of Rio Tinto.

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