3 September 2020
RMT Press Office:
RATINGS UNION RMT today stated support for Merchant Navy Day 2020, organised by Seafarers UK in the midst of the ongoing crew change crisis precipitated by the Coronavirus pandemic and affecting over 300,000 merchant seafarers worldwide.
Mick Lynch, RMT Senior Assistant General Secretary, said:
“As ever, we take time to remember the sacrifice of merchant navy seafarers of the past as part of the annual Merchant Navy Day celebrations.
“But this year, those celebrations are muted by the Coronavirus’ devastating impact on merchant seafarers from Southampton to Singapore who continue to slog their guts out to keep medical supplies, food, passengers and trade flowing.
“The pandemic has shredded the health and rights of hundreds of thousands of seafarers and we must reform the global shipping industry to outlaw employers’ callous disregard for seafarers, starting with all those sailing under the Red Ensign.”
1. Merchant Navy Day is an annual event held on 3 September to honour merchant seafarers of the past and present. It is organised by the UK’s biggest seafarer charity, Seafarers UK.
2. RMT organise over 4,000 merchant seafarer Ratings. RMT is a trustee of Seafarers UK and fully supports Merchant Navy Day every year.
3. Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in March, hundreds of thousands of merchant seafarers across the world have been left stranded on ships and kept working beyond the end of their contracts. In many cases, this continues to result in seafarers working beyond the 11 month maximum stipulated in the ILO Maritime Labour Convention.
4. According to the UK Government’s seafarer statistics published 12 December 2019 (Table SFR0303), 9,140 UK Ratings were employed in the UK shipping industry – under 20% of the total number of Ratings in the industry.