Monday, July 20, 2020

Port of Prince Rupert throws support behind international campaign of support for stranded seafarers

Some of the Seafarers that the Port of Prince Rupert has welcomed ashore
as part of their Shore Break program this summer; designed to provide some
assistance to visiting mariners who have been stranded at sea owing to COVID

(Photo from Port of Prince Rupert)

They are among some of the forgotten of the pandemic it seems at times, those sailors of the commercial fleet that have been stranded at sea since the start of COVID related travel restrictions.

An issue that has become one of the key human rights themes of the year as countries try to address many of the impacts of the ongoing troubles from the spread of the corona virus.

This morning, the Port of Prince Rupert once again has taken up the cause of the international seafarer, calling attention to a United Nations campaign to draw attention to the plight of the many mariners who have been kept from their homes and their families since the start of this year.

In a Social media posting this morning, the Port directed their followers to this report from the United Nations, the account one which highlights the increasing concerns about what is now being called a humanitarian and safety crisis.

As part of the overview of the ongoing situation,  the UN highlights the call for the reduction, or scrapping of restrictions for those mariners looking to leave their ships and return to their homes.

“This is the fourth time my home leave has been cancelled. I don’t know what’s going on. We deliver the cargo and the goods, but they close the borders for us.” Because of the uncertainty, Raphael says, the atmosphere on the ship is tense, and he fears that there will be an impact on safety, because of the fragile mental health of the crew: “our minds are in different worlds”, he says. “It’s like walking on thin air.” ’All we want is to come home’ --  From a UN report on Human Rights and the impact of travel restrictions on international seafarers

The UN account provides just a small glimpse into the fate that hundreds of thousands of seafarers currently find themselves in, stranded at sea for over a year with no end in sight, a situation which the UN notes is taking heavy mental toll on the merchant sailors.

In recent weeks the Prince Rupert Port Authority has delivered on a local program called Shore Break, the local initiative one that seeks to help the international mariners as much as possible from Prince Rupert, frequently bringing the stranded mariners to a secure part of the Port Property near the Prince Rupert Cruise Terminal.

The Plaza area between the Northland Cruise Terminal and the
Atlin Terminal has become a land oasis on occasion for visiting seafarers
as the Port of Prince Rupert brings stranded sailors ashore as part of their
Shore Break Program introduced this summer

The program which we took note of here last month, provides for a slight refuge from the current situation and calls attention to the need to keep in mind the challenges that are being found just off the Prince Rupert waterfront from those who are in transit to global destinations from the North Pacific gateway.

For more notes related to the Port of Prince Rupert see our archive page here.

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