May Day Ship Horn Call for Seafarers COVID19 Solidarity!


According to a Safety4Sea report,  the UK Chamber of Shipping has encouraged as many ships as possible across the globe to sound their horns, if safe to do so, to celebrate the International Workers’ Day, Workers’ Day, Labour Day or May Day.

The coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact in the shipping industry, leading to not only disruptions, but also challenging seafarers and those working at shipping’s various sectors. This initiative will act as a mark of solidarity and hope amongst the seafarers.

Blow the Horns & Salute the Workers

As 1st May is recognised in many countries around the world as International Workers’ Day, Workers’ Day, Labour Day or May Day, the Chamber encourages as many ships as possible across the world, who are in a port or harbour, to sound their horns (as is safe to do so) at 12.00 local time on 1st May 2020.

It is stated that this is a way to express our support and recognition to the workers across the world, ensuring that seafarers’ contribution in these difficult times is not forgotten.

A Wide Range of Support in the Industry

Shipping industry bodies Discover Ferries, the British Ports Association (BPA) and the UK Chamber of Shipping have coordinated the gesture, says a Business Live report.

Showing Appreciation

The idea is to show “appreciation” for essential workers, including NHS staff, emergency services, supermarket employees and seafarers, according to the industry.

“This is an extremely difficult time for everyone, with many passenger ferry services needing to reduce or even suspend their operations due to the current travel restrictions,” said Emma Batchelor, director of UK industry body Discover Ferries.

“But it is incredibly humbling to witness the solidarity that our seafarer community shares with the rest of the British Isles as we all unite to keep lifeline services operating and ensure the flow of essential food and medical supplies to where they are needed.”

Keeping The Ferry Service Moving Crucial

The ferry sector, like most industries, has had to adapt its operations during the coronavirus outbreak after seeing a sharp reduction in the number of passengers able to travel.

Key changes include a temporary relaxation of competition rules on the Solent, enabling Hovertravel, Red Funnel and Wightlink to work together to maintain services to the island.

  • The measures include the acceptance of tickets on each other’s services with no extra charge to ensure key workers are able to travel despite a reduction in overall services.
  • Cross-Channel operators are now prioritising freight and some operators, such as Condor Ferries, have changed services to freight-only operations.

Earlier this week, the UK Chamber of Shipping called on the UK government to provide financial support to help keep ferry services operating amid huge financial losses.

UK Chamber chief executive Bob Sanguinetti said: “We have already seen a number of ferry companies reduce their services and send a large number of their staff home.

“Unless these companies get access to the government financial packages now, this is likely to be followed by further reduction of services, or indeed companies going out of business.

“We are being told that it is fast becoming cheaper to lay ships up than to keep them running at a loss. This will put at risk our vital supply and essential logistics lines – the life blood of this nation.”

The majority of the UK’s trade in goods is transported by sea, with up to 50 per cent of food imported from other countries.

Richard Ballantyne, chief executive of the British Ports Association added: “Ports across the whole of the UK are critical to keeping the country supplied.

“As a sector we have been working hand in glove with ministers and officials to ensure that goods keep moving as freely as possible through this crisis.”

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Source: Safety4Sea, Business Live


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