On Friday evenings at 7:00 pm, ships all along the coast of British Columbia sound their horns in solidarity to thank all workers in the province and globally who are on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Their continued effort, dedication, and selflessness is truly remarkable.
This audible celebration of frontline workers by the marine shipping industry is noteworthy, as the essential marine transportation workforce also continues to support the movement of critical cargo, some of which directly supports medical efforts, and ensures the delivery of supplies that keep our communities functioning during the pandemic.
This marine workforce includes longshoreman, terminal operators, tug operators, seafarers from Canada and all over the world, marine pilots, port staff, and professional mariners, vessel traffic controllers, and inspectors from Transport Canada, the Canadian Coast Guard, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and the Canada Border Services Agency. With the current threat of COVID-19, their workplace challenges are immense, and they are working collaborative to find innovative and safe ways to keep ships and cargo moving.
This is a particularly difficult time for seafarers worldwide. Normally, seafarers spend prolonged periods of time as sea, away from their families and communities. During this pandemic crisis, the challenges of life in a ship are extraordinary. With numerous nations not allowing crew changes and a near shutdown of international airline travel, a significant number of seafarers are unable to return home to their families through normal crew change procedures.
As anyone who has spent time at sea will know, we must all come together in a crisis and support each other in all possible ways.