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ICS urges governments to act after UN report highlights countries denying seafarers urgent medical care

The International Chamber of Shipping has called on governments around the world to ensure access to medical care for seafarers after it emerged that crew continue to be refused urgent treatment at ports during the pandemic.

Governments, many of whom are yet to recognise seafarers as key workers despite encouragement to do so by the UN, have relied on broad-ranging ‘force majeure’ defences to deny seafarers medical treatment.

Citing ‘force majeure’, governments have bypassed fundamental standards on seafarer wellbeing, such as those contained in the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006.

However, the ILO found that given that almost two years had passed since the beginning of the pandemic, “…’force majeure’ should not be regarded as a valid reason to deprive seafarers of their rights.”

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