There is an upside to the COVID-19 pandemic. Whilst strewing death and misery along its path, the coronavirus has cast light on the real character of individuals and nations, of entire institutions and industries. Here are some facts about the shipping world that it has brought into sharper focus:
Seafarers are key workers. They hold the key to someone’s profits.
To make seafarers spend months stranded at sea is the shipping industry’s special way of treating the ‘unsung heroes of global trade’.
How can seafarers be “unsung heroes”? The shipping community has been singing praises to them every Day of the Seafarer for 10 years now.
There are loud calls for CREW CHANGE. Why not shout “Bring them home!” and focus the discussion on seafarer REPATRIATION? Ah, but business comes first.
In the shipping industry, words speak louder than action.
The coronavirus has slowed down the global economy but not the maritime slogans and buzzwords.
We don’t hear reports of maritime charities or maritime unions laying off workers because of the pandemic. Interesting.
Mega cruise ships may well go the way of the dinosaur. Bad for the cruise companies and seafarers but good for public health.
The ‘new normal’ does not apply to the maritime press. The latter will continue bombarding readers with press releases and puff pieces and doing the cut-and-paste routine. It is the norm.
Humankind will find a vaccine against COVID-19 long before it finds one against seafarer exploitation and abuse.
~ Barista Uno