June 25, 2020 – The Chamber of Marine Commerce extends its gratitude to the 1.2 million seafarers around the world who have gone above and beyond to deliver vital supplies during the pandemic, and supports the International Maritime Organization’s call today for all countries to recognize seafarers as key workers and to facilitate crew changes.
The International Maritime Organization celebrated the 10thanniversary of the Day of the Seafarer today with a campaign focused on calling on governments to provide support, assistance and travel options for international seafarers to return home during the pandemic. Many international crew have worked several months beyond their contracts, exceeding regulatory limits, and ship owners, unions and captains have sounded the alarm over safety.
Bruce Burrows, President and CEO of the Chamber of Marine Commerce, said that Canada was a good model for safe crew changes.
“The Canadian government has to be commended for drawing attention to the importance of maritime trade in overcoming the pandemic and designating seafarers as essential workers from the beginning of this crisis. Officials have worked closely with our industry to put in place all the necessary safety protocols, while working through any travel complications that have arisen,” he explains. “Canadian domestic crew changes have continued uninterrupted and our seafarers are able to return home for much-needed leave. These breaks are absolutely crucial to their well-being and the safe operation of vessels.”
To ensure that supply chains remain uninterrupted, Canadian ship operators have collaborated to create a detailed set of best practices to protect their crews and shoreside employees during COVID-19. “For example, our ship owners have recognized the value of providing safe and secure workplaces for crew members who are working tirelessly through COVID-19.” said Mr. Burrows.
Fleets from Algoma Central Corporation, Canada Steamship Lines, Rand Logistics, Inc., Groupe Desgagnés, McKeil Marine, McAsphalt Transportation Services, Sterling Fuels are all part of the initiative, which was led by the Chamber of Marine Commerce. More than 85 Canadian-flag ships are participating – ranging from tug and barges and tankers to bulk carriers and general cargo vessels — all delivering goods throughout the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence, and the East Coast.
About the Chamber of Marine Commerce
The Chamber of Marine Commerce is a bi-national association, formed in 1959, that represents more than 130 marine industry stakeholders including major Canadian and American shippers, ports, terminals and marine service providers, as well as domestic and international ship owners. The Chamber advocates for safe, sustainable, harmonized and competitive policy and regulation that recognizes the marine transportation system’s significant advantages in the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence, Coastal and Arctic regions.