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ITF calls for safety of seafarers following Red Sea attacks

19 Dec 2023
Press Release

Following the attacks on commercial ships in the Red Sea, the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) is calling for the safety of seafarers to be paramount.

We acknowledge the steps taken by a number of leading shipping companies including Maersk, Hapag Lloyd, and MSC  to stop using the Red Sea, and many vessels have been rerouted to avoid putting seafarers’ lives at risk.

We welcome the news that BP and oil tanker group Frontline have temporarily halted traffic through the Red Sea.

We recognise the Red Sea route including the Suez Canal is a critical part of the global supply chain and that taking the alternative route around the Cape of Good Hope extends the journey by over 3,000 nautical miles – potentially adding weeks to the time seafarers will be at sea.

Rerouting will have a significant impact on tours of duty in the global supply chain, but most importantly it will reduce the risks to seafarers that the Red Sea currently brings. 

Stephen Cotton, ITF general secretary said ‘The primary concern of the ITF is the safety of seafarers and we would expect shipping companies to share that concern. Seafarers move the world. We applaud companies that are rerouting their vessels. The focus at this time needs to be about the health and safety of the seafarers and less about the cost of oil and transport.’' 


Media contacts: ITF:

About the ITF: The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) is a democratic, affiliate-led federation recognised as the world’s leading transport authority. We fight passionately to improve working lives; connecting trade unions from 150 countries to secure rights, equality and justice for their members. We are the voice for nearly 20 million working women and men in the transport industry across the world.

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