On 25 June, the Day of the Seafarer, more than one million seafarers are out at sea, keeping global supply chains intact, just as they are every other day of the year. On this day, the European Commission pays tribute to their work, which often means many weeks or months away from home.
Although maritime transport carries 90 percent of world trade and 75 percent of EU imports and exports, it does not often get the recognition it deserves for keeping our economies running.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the mariners on tens of thousands of merchant ships ensured that food, energy and much-needed medical products were all delivered. While others worked from home, they remained at sea, often working in very difficult circumstances and sometimes even stranded at sea. Many kept working despite not knowing when they would be able to return home to their families.
The European Commission issued guidelines on seafarer health allowing them to travel for work in the EU regardless of origin or nationality — so they can return home on time.
In close cooperation with the Member States, stakeholders and the relevant international organisations, the Commission is now shifting the focus to vaccinations and making sure that as many seafarers as possible receive their jabs. Vaccinations are underway and will be key to resolving the crew change crisis. The Commission is currently exploring ways how to also provide vaccinations to non-EU crew members.
On this day and in the future, the Commission will continue to work hard to improve the living and working conditions of seafarers – some of the unsung heroes of global transport – and calls upon its partners to join the campaign.
Source: Day of the Seafarer 2021