The seafarer human right crisis was brought to the fore by COVID-19 travel restrictions, and again surfaced with the Ukrainian invasion. The global crew change crisis was one of the Top 10 Business and Human Rights Issues for 2021.
TFG London started working with logistics suppliers and other stakeholders to understand the challenge and take action. For the first time we started working with mapped routes and shipping data.
We collaborated with the Ethical Trade Initiative (ETI) and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF). TFG London also became a signatory to the Neptune Declaration on Seafarers Wellbeing and Crew Change and requires all our maritime logistics partners to adhere to the Maritime Labour Convention 2006. The latter defines minimum working and living standards for all seafarers working on ships.
In 2022 we focused on working with Anti-Slavery International and the ETI to convene and unite all Apparel and Textile members. We want to increase engagement around an action plan with suppliers based in neighbouring countries to Ukraine. We are campaigning to identify the conflict as a specific human rights risk for seafarers, particularly in the context of the ongoing crew change crisis. We aim to engage with charterers, suppliers of services, maritime transport providers and other involved parties to ensure seafarers:
- Have adequate occupational health and safety and other protections, and communication facilities.
- Receive full and timely compensation.
- Have the opportunity to extend their contracts and remain onboard should they freely request to do so.
- Are able to request repatriation to the closest possible border locality before the expiry of their contracts on compassionate grounds, at no cost to themselves.
- Are able to exercise their right to refuse to sail.