On behalf of the European shipping industry, ECSA extends its heartfelt thanks to the European Commission for its “guidelines on the protection of health, repatriation and travel arrangements for seafarers, passengers and other persons on board ships“.

Around 600,000 maritime workers including professional seafarers and on-board personnel work on EU-owned ships. Due to the travel restrictions put in place to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, crew changes cannot be effected and these maritime workers face exhaustion, stress and health concerns. Apart from the on-board personnel for the transport of goods, maritime workers in other shipping segments like offshore wind or energy delivery face similar situations.

“ECSA has been working closely with the European Commission regarding this matter, together with our social partner, the European Transport Workers’ Federation. With our main priority being the welfare of crew and passengers, the guidelines certainly serve as the basis for the changes that need to happen on the ground,” said Martin Dorsman, ECSA’s Secretary-General.

“Our members will work closely with the national authorities, to see that the procedure set out in the guidelines are carried out, and we will certainly relay our feedback to the European level. On its side, ECSA will continue to cooperate with the EU institutions to make sure that there is a coordinated approach by all member states with regard to the implementation of the Commission’s guidelines,” he continued.

As mentioned in a previous communication, European shipping has reached a breaking point, where crews are being challenged enormously.

In the face of the many challenges posed by the current crisis, maritime workers across the whole European shipping industry are working to ensure the continued supply of goods and equipment and the necessary transport services to millions of citizens currently affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

ECSA considers that this unprecedented crisis requires unprecedented reactions. For Europe to ensure the survival of its strategically important maritime industry, more concerted and targeted actions will be required. It therefore calls on all the European institutions to swiftly adopt a targeted rescue and recovery plan for the maritime sector.