Seafarers around the world are facing a humanitarian and safety crisis.
Hundreds of thousands of maritime workers have been left 'stranded' at sea, unable to dock in ports or return home due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.
Forbidden to leave their ships, these seafarers have faced months of uncertainty, isolation and hardship.
Cezar Gabriel was one of them. The chief engineer and photographer spent an additional three months at sea last year after his ship was unable to dock in Brazil. Listen to his story below.
90 per cent of world trade is transported by sea. Many of the things we take for granted would not be possible without the work of seafarers, yet their contribution during the pandemic is rarely acknowledged.
The National Maritime Museum wants to change that.
This oral history project will enter the Museum collection as a permanent record of the challenges that seafarers have faced throughout the pandemic. Their testimony will ensure that the voices of COVID-19's 'forgotten keyworkers' are heard.
"Seafarers continue to be deeply impacted by the pandemic," says Laura Boon, the Lloyd’s Register Foundation Public Curator of Contemporary Maritime at Royal Museums Greenwich. "It is vital that we capture their experiences now – both to raise awareness and act as a record for the future."
The Neptune Declaration
More than 700 organisations and companies have signed the Neptune Declaration on Seafarer Wellbeing, urging governments and international bodies to find a solution to the current crisis.
Now the National Maritime Museum has pledged to add its name to the declaration. Join us in our support of the world’s seafarers.
Exposure: Lives at Sea
But as the coronavirus crisis has shown, it is all too easy to feel disconnected from the people living and working at sea today.
Global shipping, marine science, fishing, polar research – these industries and endeavours are vital, yet their work often remains out of sight or undervalued.
The National Maritime Museum's new photography exhibition, Exposure: Lives at Sea, is just one way we hope to explore and document lives at sea today.
International Day of the Seafarer
Royal Museums Greenwich is also supporting Ince with the release of a charity single on the International Day of the Seafarer, Friday 25 June 2021.
The cover of Rod Stewart's 'Sailing' will be recorded by seafarers and the wider maritime community across the world, raising money for Stella Maris, Sailors’ Society, Seafarers UK and the Mission to Seafarers to provide ongoing support, including access to vaccines, for those stranded at sea during the pandemic. From Thursday 18 March, seafarers who are interested in being involved in this project can get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.