The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) have called on the Australian Prime Minister to do the “right thing” for the thousands of seafarers stranded on cruise vessels drifting off the coast of Australia.
On March 29, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that that it was, “important that Australia does the right thing about those who have fallen into our care to ensure that I can say with great moral authority that Australians are doing the right thing, and we would ask you to do the right thing.”
ITF President Paddy Crumlin today wrote to Prime Minister Scott Morrison appealing to him to show the same humanity to the men and women working onboard the cruise ships off the coast of Australia as he has expressed needs to be shown to the cruise passengers, and the same humanity that the US Government has offered Australians being repatriated from Florida in the next 24 to 48 hours.
It is estimated that around 314 out of 385 cruise ships that are owned and operated by the major cruise lines are currently laid up. Many of the vessels have hundreds of seafarers onboard as governments refuse to allow them to disembark and transit through their ports and airports for repatriation. This is despite guarantees from cruise lines that they will charter flights to get the seafarers home.
Over 80 percent of the worlds cruise ships are covered by an ITF agreement. ITF affiliated seafarers’ unions have been working with the ITF and our social partners to get the seafarers repatriated, but travel and port restrictions that governments have implemented have made this impossible with no solution currently in sight.
“This is not a sustainable situation,” said ITF Cruise Ship Task Force chair Johan Øyen. “Seafarers have the right to be treated with the same decency and dignity as everyone else. Governments have to ‘do the right thing’ and ensure that the thousands of men and women that have provided their services to the world’s cruise passengers are shown the same compassion and be allowed to return home.”