When countries do not have free trade agreements, they generally act among themselves under WTO (WTO) rules and impose tariffs – or taxes – on products that enter and apply them in the same way to all its trading partners. On 15 May, the day after the situation was notified to IMO, SCAT received confirmation that the sailor was able to disembark and was taken to the hotel. As long as the COVID-19 test was negative, he was taken to hospital for surgery. The UK and the European Union are in talks on how they could live and work together after Brexit. This will be the case if the UK and the EU do not conclude a trade deal by the end of 2020. European laws that prevent a government of one country from helping companies in that country compared to their competitors in another country. “We feel all the hardships of the long offshore period, especially with no end date in sight. For many of us, this is not good and certainly puts it safe on s) the sailor wrote in an email to the Marine Crisis Action Team (SCAT) of IMO. IMO immediately contacted ITF and ICS. The flag state was asked to find a solution with the master and the shipowner and an agreement was reached on 7 April. The vessel was transferred to another anchorage and the cargo was unloaded completely and safely. Free trade agreements often have a level playing field. The COVID 19 pandemic has put sailors around the world in precarious situations.

Travel restrictions mean that some cannot leave their ships, cannot be brought home or even receive urgent medical assistance. Other sailors unilaterally terminated their contracts or were quarantined on ships for more than 14 days without being paid. A sailor aboard a container ship sent a call for assistance to IMO on April 12, 2020. His contract, which was due to expire at the end of March, had been extended by an additional month. The sailor stated that his company had done nothing to change crews, although state support allowed this option.