Ships to sound horns on May Day in support of unsung heroes of global trade

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) are calling on seafarers across the world to sound their ships’ horns when in port at 12.00 local time on International Workers’ Day on 1 May 2020.

International Workers’ Day also known as Workers’ Day, May Day or Labor Day, is recognized in many countries around the world to celebrate and acknowledge the contribution made by workers across the world.

ITF and ICS are encouraging the gesture of solidarity to recognize over 1.6 million seafarers across the world, the unsung heroes of global trade, who are keeping countries supplied with food, fuel and important supplies such as vital medical equipment not only through the Covid-19 pandemic, but every day. Prior to engaging in blowing the horns ships should ensure that appropriate clearance is sought where required.

Guy Platten, Secretary General of the ICS said: “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 recognizes the contribution of workers is an ideal way to remind us all of their sacrifice. They are all Heroes at Sea.”

Stephen Cotton, General Secretary, ITF said “The ITF welcomes this initiative and call on seafarers to sound their ships’ horns in a global expression of solidarity, but importantly to also ensure that the spotlight remains on how critical seafarers are to ensure that essential goods continue to be transported around the world during this crisis.

“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.”

Shipping plays a fundamental part in global supply chains, but the issue of crew changes is posing major threat to the safe operation of maritime trade. Due to travel restrictions related to COVID-19, the industry has seen seafarers extending their time onboard ships after lengthy periods at sea. The current situation cannot last indefinitely for the safety and wellbeing of seafarers.

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