International legal and professional services firm, Ince, has announced the establishment of a global virtual choir from companies and organisations from across the industry to record ‘Sailing’ – the song made iconic by Rod Steward – in partnership with Royal Museums Greenwich and supported by four of the world’s leading maritime charities: Mission to Seafarers, Sailors’ Society, Stella Maris and Seafarers’ Charity.
With the support of multi-platinum record producer George Shilling, and award-winning film director Athena Xenidu, the choir is recording a single to be released on 25 June 2021, the IMO’s Day of the Seafarer. All net proceeds raised from the sale of the single – which will be available to buy through the major audio platforms – as well as donations to the project’s Just Giving page, will be donated and split equally amongst the four charities involved in the project.
The initiative aims to ignite important discussions – both within the global maritime community and beyond – on the critical contribution that seafarers make to the global economy and our everyday life, and the exceptional and unprecedented challenges that they have faced, and continue to face, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The project also aims to gain more support for the Neptune Declaration on Seafarer Wellbeing and Crew Change of which Ince is a signatory, and which calls on government bodies to take urgent action to recognise seafarers as key workers and give them priority access to Covid-19 vaccines.
Seafarers are the heartbeat of the maritime industry and key workers who operate on the frontline for delivering 90% of the global trade, including the critical medical supplies and equipment that the international community currently relies so heavily on. It is the dedication of seafarers who operate fleets 365 days a year ensuring the safety and efficiency of voyages, moving goods to where they need to be. With a heritage that spans over 150 years of working in the maritime industry and with a number of former mariners on its team, Ince has a deep understanding and connection with the seafarer welfare cause.
Commenting on the announcement, Julian Clark, Global Senior Partner at Ince, said, “While crew welfare is a priority for many ship owners and operators, the coronavirus pandemic has created unprecedented operational challenges at sea. This has resulted in hundreds of thousands of seafarers worldwide working aboard ships beyond the expiry date of their initial contracts, going many months and in some cases over a year without seeing their families, which has had significant consequences on their physical and mental wellbeing.
“Through ‘Sing for Seafarers’, we want to make the voices of the seafarers heard and show our support and admiration for the unsung heroes of the pandemic. We believe that building awareness of the role of seafarers, and the unprecedented hardships they have suffered as a result of the pandemic, is our obligation as an active and committed member of the maritime community.
“Our hope is that all those operating in the maritime sector, governments and the general public develop empathy and take action for our key workers of the sea. This action must reflect the core elements of the Neptune Declaration; the recognition of seafarers as key workers and the provision of priority access to COVID-19 vaccines, as well as the establishment and implementation of standard health protocols that can be universally adopted to ensure safe crew changes. And in addition, we must also contemplate increased collaboration between ship operators and charterers for shared responsibility and transparency regarding crew changes as instrumental in solving this crisis, as well as guaranteed air connectivity between key crew changing hubs and major seafaring nations through close collaboration with our aviation industry colleagues and partners”.
The initiative is quickly gaining support from across the maritime industry, including maritime companies, crews and the UK and International Chambers of Shipping. Previews of the single will be available in June, and in the meantime, further information about the campaign and ways to get involved can be found on the dedicated website: https://www.incegd.com/en/singforseafarers