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The Parkgate Poet on the Plight of Seafarers Due to Pandemic

Published: 14th September 2020 09:24

This week Barrie Youde, aka The Parkgate Poet, highlights a problem that many of us will have been blissfully unaware of...until now.

He says: The plight of seafarers in the continuing Covid pandemic is a global scandal. Each one is more than qualified as a "key-worker", being fully engaged in the delivery of the food and fuel which serve, in our over-crowded island nation, to keep us all alive.

"Reports of dismissive treatment of seafarers, however, are widespread. There have even been reports that, following the delivery of vital food supplies in an acceptably clean and healthy ship, mariners from the ship have been denied the liberty of setting foot ashore at all.

"The numbers of seafarers whose service-contracts have over-run by many months (with consequent false-imprisonment arising) are countless without as yet, any redress or hope of seeing their homes and their families at any time soon. Humanity can offer better than this.

"Please help."

I've brought the food you ordered for your national survival.
I've come from half-way round the world. You now see my arrival.
Tell me. Where, d'you want it? Can you offer me a berth?
I've taken every care so far. I know how much it's worth.

Ah, over there. I understand. And port-side to the quay.
I will honour your directions as it's all the same to me.
Our foodstuffs all are vital. That much goes for me and you.
I'll thank you if you could look after now, perhaps, my crew?

My ship is in good health. I have been granted free pratique.
Our needs are not too many. Mere humanity we seek.
We wish to change some members of the crew, by airline flights.
They have no wish to linger nor to vandalise your sights.

Home is where they wish to go. Replacements here will join.
No trouble will they cause you. Not a thing will they purloin.
Hotels, perhaps, and taxi-cabs are at your major port?
Please could you now help them - or is that too great a thought?

Presumably you hope that you will have your food always?
I understand the rules are strict in Covid-ridden days.
But Covid comes an dCovid goes ; and so too will the ships.
Please, will you help my sailormen before your hunger grips?


Editor's Note:

Having done a little research as a result of Barrie's submission above, I found a report in Business Insider which states that, as of August this year, an estimated 300,000 cargo ship workers were trapped at sea. 

Seafarers UK, the maritime community charity, has launched an appeal to help them support seafarers and their families who are being affected by the COVID-19 crisis.  You can read more and make a donation if you wish, here.

Seafarers UK

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