Ships roar their support as #HeroesAtSeaShoutout campaign rings out across the world

In scenes not heard for generations people living in port cities around the world today experienced a rousing collective roar of appreciation for seafarers, the unsung heroes during the current Covid-19 pandemic.

May 1 – International Workers’ Day – was chosen as the day to celebrate the work of seafarers. The #HeroesAtSeaShoutout campaign organised by the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) urged ships to blow their horn in port at midday today.

Guy Platten, secretary general of the ICS, commented, “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 recognises the contribution of workers is an ideal way to remind us all of their sacrifice.”

Tens of thousands of seafarers have been unable to get home thanks to strict quarantine rules brought into place following the spread of coronavirus around the world.

Kitack Lim, secretary-general of the International Maritime Organization, said last month that seafarers have been on the “front line’’ of the global fight against the pandemic.

Lim has written to all IMO member states, urging them to recognise all seafarers as key workers, remove any barriers to their documentation and lift national travel restrictions so that they can get home on conclusion of their contracts, and rejoin their families.

Stephen Cotton, general secretary of the ITF, commented, “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.”

Applauding today’s #HeroesAtSeaShoutout initiative, Dr Kostas Gkonis, secretary general of international dry bulk association Intercargo, said: “Such initiatives remind our valued seafarers that they are not alone.”



Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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