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As the wife of a seafarer I am used to a life of either waiting for my husband to return or bidding him goodbye. But for the first time, I am worried and helpless, for he can neither come home and nor is he safe there,as his ship makes its way to Italy.

Even during a global pandemic, it is due to seafarers that you have fuel to run your car and your supermarket shelves are stocked. These people are not on a pleasure cruise, but are away from home, working hard to keep global supply chains running.

What you don’t know is that crew on a ship FEARS the people coming from ashore who could carry the virus to them (pilot, agent, government /health officials). Just ONE infection could spread rapidly as they live in closed spaces. There is no doctor, ICU or ventilator on board. They are too far away at sea to get prompt attention and every country’s medical system is already overwhelmed.  

The only way we can ensure seafarers safety is by implementing: A “ZERO CONTACT ” policy- for all cargo / port operations and NO ONE enters their accommodation. Shipping operations should be restricted to those Ports which can support this policy.

We, as a society, cannot afford for seafarers to go on strike which will disrupt global supply chains.This needs an urgent response – as every day lost enhances the risk to their life.