The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has declared it a humanitarian crisis – one that hardly gets any attention: Due to Covid-19, hundreds of thousands of seafarers are stranded on board of their ships far away from their families without being repatriated to their home countries. A humanitarian crisis that leaves traces upon health and wellbeing of the crew members. Amongst them are women, which strongly suffer from involuntarily prolongued seperation, many of them being mothers with little contact to the closest relatives back home. In reaction to that situation, a UN resolution has been urging member states to accept seafarers and maritime personell as key workers in the context of the current pandemic, allowing stranded seafarers to safely return home and replacing them on the ships.
The Pacific Communities regional network ‘Pacific Women In Maritime Association’ is drawing particular attention to female seafarers and their stories, challenges and issues. The story of Vaiufia Makatuu Latu is representative for many female seafarers who play a crucial role in maritime transport.