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Support the seafarers making Black Friday a reality 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Calling Mr Bezos, CEO of Amazon, to help push public recognition of seafarers as key workers. Open Letter from ICS, BIMCO, Intercargo and Intertanko from 25 November 2020.

  • Date submitted:
  • Submitted to: Amazon, Letters

Dear Mr Bezos, 

Support the seafarers making Black Friday a reality 

As you know, the strength of Amazon’s (and others’) supply chain is central to the success of red-letter retail days like Black Friday. Today, 90% of global trade relies on shipping, which fundamentally serves essential needs, such as food, energy supply, and other indispensable raw material.  If ships do not sail, events on the scale of Black Friday or Cyber Monday would be impossible.  

Yet unforgivably, more than 400,000 of our seagoing colleagues and seafarers, who underpin the movement of goods around the world, are currently stranded on board their vessels, because governments will not recognise their crucial role and prioritise them for immigration and travel purposes. 

Some of these key workers have been at sea for more than a year, unable to disembark because of Covid related restrictions. Being cut off from physical contact with their families their mental wellbeing is rapidly deteriorating. Throughout some of the most difficult conditions in living memory, they have continued to transport the goods needed to satisfy the demand generated by platforms including Amazon.  

As one of the world’s most prominent entrepreneurs, you have unparalleled influence, which we hope you will use to join us in pushing public recognition of seafarers as key workers, and champion the cause at the highest levels of government, including in the United States with the incoming Biden administration. 

You have the power to make a real difference for 400,000 dedicated professionals whose self-sacrifice is keeping the world’s marketplace running. Without these seafarers, global trade as we know it would simply cease to exist. 

We would welcome you joining us in making sure that does not happen and look forward to discussing what can be done further. 


Yours sincerely, 

  • Ms. Sadan Kaptanoglu, President & Chairperson of the Board of BIMCO and Kaptanoglu Shipping Group of Companies
  • Mr. Esben Poulsson, Chairman of the International Chamber of Shipping and Executive Chairman ENESEL PTE. LTD
  • Mr. Dimitris Fafalios, Chairman of INTERCARGO and Chairman of Fafalios Shipping S.A.
  • Mr. Paolo d’Amico, Chairman of INTERTANKO and Managing Director of d’Amico Societá di Navigazione SpA