The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) has written an open letter to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, raising concerns over the impact of new regulations aimed at preventing the spread of coronavirus.
Around 90% of global trade is conducted via sea routes and CGF warns that new regulations disrupt this vital traffic, possibly impacting the supply of food and hygiene products.
There are also welfare issues for seafarers associated with crew changes. Around 300,000 ship crew are currently waiting to be repatriated. Some seafarers have been stranded on their ships for months after their original contracts have expired. Similar numbers are waiting to board ships, unable to work.
CGF suggests that this may be resolved via:
- Recognising that status of seafarers as “key workers”
- Implementing IMO protocols on crew changes
- Introducing test-and-trace for seafarers
- Ensuring the PPE is available for ship crews
- Limiting time at sea to 11 months per year
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