Seafarers are already on the front lines of the climate emergency – we are the ones rescuing people from surging tides, those fleeing famines and flood caused by climate change back home, and of course – we see it in our own countries with record heat, floods, bush and forest fires.

We are clear in our view that if seafarers and our unions are involved from the very outset in shaping this transition, then we have every opportunity to ensure that the changes that take place are positive for seafarers. We can make this a safe, smart, fair and just transition the current cohort of seafarers and for future generations who will take up careers at sea. 

However, as the ITF global union family we know that there is still much for us to do, to educate seafarers, listen to their concerns and ambitions for the environment and the industry, and critically – to show that the transition to sustainable future can mean better working lives at sea. We are committed to this education focus, working alongside seafaring affiliates.

Finally, we wish to thank the affiliates who have given up their time to participate in the policy process. As seafaring unions, we have entered this global conversation with our expertise, experience, and passion for a safe climate future, on clear display.

Stephen Cotton
ITF General Secretary

David W. Heindel
ITF Seafarers’ Section Chair
Sustainable Shipping Working Group Chair


Read the letter here

Seafarers’ Section industry roundtable on sustainable shipping shows unions leading the climate conversation
The first public outing for our new policy came on October 29 via the ITF-hosted industry roundtable.  The event was chaired by ITF Seafarers’ Section Chair, Dave Heindel and featured guest panelists from amongst the industry’s leading employers, climate experts and three working seafarers all of whom represented their unions well (NUSI, Nautilus, and SIU). The ITF General Secretary and the other panelists traversed how training, health and safety and career pathways need to be front of mind when designing and implementing plans to quit fossil fuels.
By holding the event in late October, the ITF was able to show the industry and wider public that seafarers and our unions want to be part of the just transition/climate conversation and its associated position paper ahead of COP26 climate talks taking place this week in Glasgow, Scotland.
You can watch the interesting discussion, which was recorded and uploaded to YouTube, here



Sign on to the Global Maritime Forum-led Call to Action for Shipping Decarbonisation, which you can do here.