Seafarers Press Bezos For Rescue
A cohort of associations from the shipping industry have called on Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos to support and help facilitate the return of some 400,000 seafarers stuck on merchant vessels across the US.
The associations, which include the International Chamber of Shipping, penned an open letter urging Bezos to apply pressure on the incoming Biden administration and other political leaders to recognize seafarers as essential workers in order to facilitate their return after being held up by restrictions at ports that were put in place to help curb the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to the penned letter, over 400,000 seafarers are stuck on merchant vessels including some who have been at sea for over a year. The letter was addressed to Bezos given his influence in the supply chain industry that stems from the e-commerce giant he founded. Amazon is a major patronizer in the supply chain industry and thus has a lot of sway in policies concerning the industry.
“The strength of Amazon’s supply chain is central to the success of red-letter retail days like Black Friday,” said the letter. “Without these seafarers, global trade as we know it would simply cease to exist.”
“Unforgivably, more than 400,000 of our seagoing colleagues and seafarers, who underpin the movement of goods around the world, are currently stranded on board their vessels, because governments will not recognize their crucial role and prioritize them for immigration and travel purposes,” it said.
The Covid-19 pandemic has spurred many restrictions outside the norm which were put in place to help curb it. Notably, the US has been gravely affected by the pandemic, with some 12.8 million cases and over 262,000 deaths seen so far in the country.
It’s such that the US is the country with the most Covid-19 cases and deaths across the globe, an oddity given its track record of handling previous pandemics.