The International Labour Organisation has welcomed new measures to protect the rights of seafarers stranded at sea because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Hundreds of thousands of seafarers, including Pacific Islanders, have been trapped for months on ships across the globe due to ongoing travel restrictions.
The ILO has welcomed a joint statement signed by more than a dozen countries that gives seafarers enhanced rights as key workers.
The new measures, also supported by other UN agencies and international organizations, enable seafarers to be repatriated and move more freely during the pandemic.
The agreement will lead to the opening of foreign borders for seafarers and to an increase in the number of commercial flights, which will speed up repatriation efforts.
"I welcome the coordinated efforts undertaken by social partners and the international community to respond to the crisis created by the COVID-19 pandemic in the maritime sector, and call on all member States to support the implementation of this joint statement," said ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder.
The joint statement was signed during a virtual International Maritime Summit, hosted by the United Kingdom government.
Participants discussed the global crew change crisis that has left more than 200,000 seafarers stranded at sea due to the COVID-19 pandemic.