The marine industry has been badly affected due to Covid-19. The industry faces various difficulties since the sector hasn’t been tagged under essential service. Maritronics examines various hardships faced by seafarers and the affected marine business.
As the world is facing a disastrous pandemic, the marine industry is observing and taking new steps to help seafarers to navigate further. Many seafarers are stranded in the sea as many countries came forward with various travel restrictions to contain the spread of the pandemic.
The situation is continuously changing as the world comes to know the situations faced by seafarers. Many have started out various campaigns to mobilize the need and how the situation can be by-passed since the maritime industry is a global essential.
According to various estimates, around 2,00,000 seamen are still stranded in various ships who are not allowed to disembark. A lot of seafarers have been at the shore for months with no work. Ship owners have pressurised few countries to accept the stranded seamen, to make them safe and reach their home. Few countries like the Philippines have allowed only a limited number of seafarers to change everyday. Hongkong and Singapore had tightened their regulation regarding maritime service and crew exchange policies. Even Though the situation is relaxed and things are getting better, Maritronics, a responsible maritime industry service provider observes that many countries still haven’t opened their doors to the needs of maritime workers. Some shipping companies are finding it difficult to bring back seafarers to their homeland because of the lack of cooperation from governments. Some marine companies have offered relief measures such as financial and psychological support, free health and internet campaigns. Apart from being a humanitarian crisis, the issue has become a safety issue.
Stressed out marine workers have the risk of committing errors increases, potentially leading to accidents. The public outcry regarding the crisis in the maritime industry is less which makes actions delayed by the government or organisations. People still don’t understand how ships become a vital part of our current world, notes Maritronics. IMO understanding the situation wants safety and economic crisis to be resolved soon from the government’s end by recognizing marine workers as essential employers. IMO has put forth various guidelines, industry related protocols, to ensure safe crew changes.
IMO is collaborating with various UN agencies as well as International Organisations in fixing the crisis and solutions for numerous challenges faced during the pandemic. The actions need to be fast as mental health problems and suicides are on rise since the travel restrictions were implemented.
Experts observe that the current crisis in the maritime industry might affect future recruitments in the industry. Younger mariners might feel less secured and unprotected to choose a career in marine industry. The future of the marine industry is towards automation but still many works still involve human intervention.
Maritronics asked their employers why they chose to serve the marine industry and their replies were so positive and encouraging. Young individuals who want to explore the sea and work in ships are more decisive and strong at heart, they just don’t end up in the marine industry out of options. The new generation of seafarers somehow feels ships and sea in their vein and it excites the industry. The young who want to become seafarers continue their career path and will not stop.