Shipping veteran Frank Coles has launched an online petition to create an enforceable global protocol for so called green channel travel for seafarers.
Florida-based Coles, whose career has seen him work at Wallem, Inmarsat, Transas and Pacific Basin, is pushing to create greater public awareness and thereby force politicians to act to ensure the repatriation of mariners goes ahead as well as providing suitable health care in ports during the ongoing pandemic.
“Normally at sea for around eight months at a time many [seafarers] have been forced to spend 16 or more months at sea during Covid. Countries have closed their borders, flights stopped and extremely taxing rules put in place for any travel. This has placed an extraordinary strain on mental welfare of the mariners. It has also put the safety of ships at risk,” reads the petition launched via the site change.org.
Thus far, less than one third of the world’s nations have agreed to earmark seafarers as key workers. A summit convened by the UK a year ago to try and enact global crew change solutions failed to deliver and as of today there are still more than 200,000 crew working beyond their stipulated contract times.
Writing for Splash earlier this month, Coles, who currently finds himself between jobs, suggested a global two-week strike might be the only way for the seafaring workforce to effect change to their current conditions.
To look at the online petition, click here.