The International Chamber of Shipping, a global organization of shipowners, expressed concern at claims that some seafarers with clear signs of medical distress were being denied entry to ports or evacuation by port authorities.
The International Labor Organization called on governments worldwide to classify these sailors as “key workers providing an essential service” to allow them to return to shore and be replaced by fresh workers.
The entities estimated that from the middle of June, 150,000 seafarers a month will require international flights in order to be changed over from the ships that they operate – about half traveling by aircraft for repatriation, the other half joining ships.
Since the outbreak, restrictions by countries to reduce the spread of COVID-19 as well as the drastic reduction of air traffic have prevented routine crew changeovers on ships.
The measures have also meant that seafarers waiting to return to sea have lost their income.