'I am worried that in respect of crew changes, little is going to change in most nations without action being taken at the very highest political level. We need actions now, immediate and real, from governments and national authorities,' said Maersk strategic brands chief Henriette Hallberg Thygesen.
As demands for the matter increase, officials expressed concerns that seafarers are being forced to work against their will and that the global supply chain is at risk.
An investigation found violations of international maritime law such as unpaid overtime and insufficient medical attention. More than 120 countries or territories have stopped or limited access for ships to conduct seafarer changes to try and prevent the spread of Covid.
Companies are warning of disturbance to the global supply chain if the seafarer crisis isn't resolved. The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) estimates another 400,000 are waiting on shore to relieve them, often with little or no pay.
'We could well see a million seafarers adversely affected in the coming months,' said ICS secretary general Guy Platten.
Beginning October 1, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority will restrict ships where workers have been aboard for more than 13 months. France set up a national crisis unit to help with requests from shipowners in trouble, allowing at least 15,400 seafarers to transit on French soil.
'When the ships stop, so does everything else,' said Unilever's chief supply chain officer Marc Engel.