Cruise & Ferry Review - Autumn/Winter 2020

1 5 8 INTERV IEW C leopatra Doumbia-Henry is troubled by seafarer issues that urgently need addressing: “The wellbeing of seafarers in its totality is currently at stake. The Covid-19 crisis has exacerbated long-standing seafarer welfare challenges and has had a significant and disproportionate effect on seafarers on many fronts. In particular seafarer health, both mental and physical, has been severely compromised by a lack of global will and capacity to ensure that the needs of seafarers, recognised under international law, are met.” Doumbia-Henry is president of the World Maritime University (WMU), whose mission is to be the world centre of excellence in postgraduate maritime and oceans education, professional training and research, while building global capacity and promoting sustainable development. WMU is working to provide education that supports seafarer wellbeing. “Many countries still do not provide seafarers with medical care ashore; in some cases, it remains particularly difficult for them to even get access to medical supplies,” says Doumbia-Henry. “This is unacceptable, being counter to basic human rights as well as the letter and spirit of international legal instruments which many of these countries have ratified and are required to effectively implement in law and in practice. This mistreatment of seafarers needs to be strongly condemned by all and action taken to remedy the situation. “In addition to this direct attack on their human rights with respect to health, seafarers have been denied the right to repatriation due to travel restrictions put in place by many countries. In some cases, this is dramatically compounded by seafarers having been onboard for Fighting for seafarer welfare Jon Ingleton talks to Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, president of the World Maritime University, the IMO’s apex institution for maritime and ocean education Photos: World Maritime University