The leaders of the major shipping bodies, BIMCO, INTERCARGO, International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), and INTERTANKO, issued a joint open letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to use his influence and profile as the world’s leading retail entrepreneur, whose business relies upon global shipping, to take a stand for the 400,000 seafarers stranded at sea and exert pressure on the incoming Biden administration in the US and other world leaders to recognize seafarers as key workers.
The open letter, in part, stated: “As one of the world’s most prominent entrepreneurs, you have unparalleled influence, which we hope you will use to join us in pushing public recognition of seafarers as key workers, and champion the cause at the highest levels of government, including in the United States with the incoming Biden administration.
“You have the power to make a real difference for 400,000 dedicated professionals
whose self-sacrifice is keeping the world’s marketplace running. Without these
seafarers, global trade as we know it would simply cease to exist.”
Esben Poulsson, Chairman of the International Chamber of Shipping, who was chairing the Round Table meeting commented: “2020 has been one of the most challenging years for the world in recent times. But we have seen companies like Amazon increasing their profits thanks to a great extent to the actions of seafarers who have kept trade flowing. We now need leaders like Jeff Bezos to raise their voices in support of the many seafarers who despite being in effect trapped by the crew change crisis have continued to perform their duties.
“Without immediate action from industry and governments around the world, 2021 will be a year of slow and complicated recovery. For an industry which supports the vast majority of global trade and lies at the heart of viable economic recovery, this represents an unacceptable future.
“It is of the utmost importance that seafarers are more widely recognized as key workers and prioritized for vaccinations. This is urgently needed to end the nightmare many hundreds of thousands of seafarers have endured over the last year, allowing them to just do their jobs.”
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