On World Maritime Day, with hundreds of thousands of seafarers still stranded at sea, I think now is the time to address shipping’s inability to consistently shape and direct policies that impact our ability to conduct business safely and efficiently.
When we called on governments to help our seafarers and classify them as key workers, our pleadings largely fell on deaf ears.
We might be the engine of global trade, but even as a humanitarian crisis has unfolded at sea our voice has not been heard.
The IMO has devoted this year’s World Maritime Day to sustainability but, again, we have been failing to speak to power beyond the maritime echo chamber.
If shipping wants a say on its future, and support from lawmakers when it requires their help, it needs to be more transparent and progressive in meeting environmental obligations.
We need to show the world beyond shipping that we accept change is coming and decarbonised supply chains are inevitable.
With less than 3,650 days remaining until the 2030 emissions targets, today is a reminder that shipping must step-up and turn commitment into action if it wants to avoid the imposition of policies which might harm our industry.
Even more urgently, with further lockdowns coming into force around the world, the crew change crisis could soon become even more acute.
At Synergy Group, we are doing our utmost to relieve seafarers, but the restrictions hampering crew travel are in constant flux. I strongly urge the IMO and others to double down efforts in the fight for seafarer rights before the plight of our crews deteriorates further.
For shipping, as we face these critical challenges of decarbonisation and crew changes on World Maritime Day in the midst of this ghastly pandemic, it is quite clear that the status quo is simply unsustainable.
It is also clear that addressing the status quo means we must find a political voice that travels beyond the ports and the high seas. One that reaches the decision makers who are currently determining our collective fates.
– Capt. Rajesh Unni