London. UK. Back in January, the ITF voiced the view that the newly introduced Neptune Declaration had reset expectations and made the shipping industry itself accountable for what amounted to forced labour for seafarers trapped by the COVID-19 pandemic. Nonetheless, accountability for enforcement of international conventions rests first and foremost with the State signatory, and while the Declaration has achieved a significant sign-on, its ability to influence outweighs any ability to enforce its asks.
"I'm facing financial crisis. I don't understand how will pay mortgages, household expenses and children education fees without income. I am away from family for almost 10 weeks without employment. Seafarer to be treated as essential worker and give priority for employment." London. UK. Since April, Human Rights at Sea has been put on notice of cases of seafarers stranded on board vessels, stuck in hotels, and in some cases without salaries been paid without having recourse to employer or union support.
London, UK. The South China Morning Post has conducted an investigation into the ongoing conditions for seafarers on onboard vessels currently stuck at sea during the COVID-19 pandemic, including cases and commentary from Human Rights at Sea. Published today and titled '‘Prisoners at sea’: stuck on board cargo ships, crews find their mental well-being under threat', the long read article has been complied by journalist, Kate Whitehead.