28.Nov .2020 19:00

400,000 Sailors Stuck on Merchant Vessels Because of COVID, Industry Leaders Ask Jeff Bezos to Step In

400,000 Sailors Stuck on Merchant Vessels Because of COVID, Industry Leaders Ask Jeff Bezos to Step In
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There are roughly 400,000 sailors stuck on merchant ships across the globe due to the coronavirus pandemic, and industry leaders are now calling on Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to step in. 
 
The leaders of several major shipping bodies wrote an open letter to Bezos asking him to intercede on behalf of those stranded at sea. As the CEO of one of the world's biggest retailers, which relies on global shipping to move its products, the group said, Bezos should put pressure on the incoming Biden administration to recognize these sailors as "key workers" and allow them to disembark, which they have been unable to do due to the pandemic.
 
"2020 has been one of the most challenging years for the world in recent times. But we have seen companies like Amazon increasing their profits thanks to a great extent to the actions of seafarers who have kept trade flowing," Esben Poulsson, chairman of the International Chamber of Shipping, a trade group that represents ship owners, said in a press release.
 
"We now need leaders like Jeff Bezos to raise their voices in support of the many seafarers who, despite being in effect trapped by the crew change crisis, have continued to perform their duties," Poulsson said. 

A spokesperson for Amazon did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment.
 
The roundtable also urged for a change in classification for sailors to ensure they are able to receive the coronavirus vaccine as soon as possible, and that a specific program should be implemented to vaccinate them. 
 
"It is of the utmost importance that seafarers are more widely recognized as key workers and prioritized for vaccinations," Poulsson said. "This is urgently needed to end the nightmare many hundreds of thousands of seafarers have endured over the last year, allowing them to just do their jobs."