IMO seeks UN support for 'key worker' designation for seafarers

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The following is text of a news release from the International Maritime Organization (IMO):

(LONDON) — IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim has asked the United Nations system agencies to support the IMO in its request to governments to declare seafarers, port personnel and other crucial maritime workers as key personnel. Lim made the plea during a virtual meeting April 1 with other U.N. chiefs and the U.N. secretary-general. The meeting addressed the impact of COVID-19 on, among other things, disruption and restrictions to travel, trade flows, global logistics, supply of food, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment.

During the meeting, Lim highlighted the importance of welfare and well-being of maritime personnel and particularly seafarers and the significance of crew changes to support the global supply chain. He also highlighted the major restrictions to crew changes due to travel bans and restrictions that are being increasingly imposed by governments due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lim reiterated his message that shipping is a vital artery for the economy to enable the global supply chain and global trade flows, including in particular urgently needed pharmaceuticals, medical equipment and food supply. Seaborne trade is still flowing but challenges are growing due to restrictions being introduced by countries. Lim added that the IMO and the maritime industry were committed to ensuring and supporting global trade flows and the global supply chain.

Lim was participating in the meeting of the expanded U.N. Senior Management Group (SMG) chaired by the U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. The meeting was attended by members of the SMG as well as heads of U.N. specialized agencies of FAO, IFAD, ICAO, IMO, ILO, ITU, WHO and WMO.

Opening the meeting, Guterres stressed the importance of and need for coordinated global, but also regional and local approach to address this unprecedented crisis and appealed to all U.N. system agencies to work together for a coordinated response.

By Professional Mariner Staff