The campaign to highlight the experiences of seafarers during the Covid pandemic has taken a leap forward this Day of the Seafarer as the winner of the ITF Seafarers’ Trust portrait competition is announced.
“Out of Sight Not Out of Mind” invited seafarers of all nationalities to submit images of themselves or colleagues to the Trust, giving a window into what life has been like for them during the pandemic.
The winner is being named on Day of the Seafarer as Aljon Manlangit from The Philippines. His portrait on board a vessel at Kavkaz OPL, Taman, Russia shows fellow crew mate, Wendell Pindeda after work on the Intert Gas System. Behind this image is the sad, but all too common, story of a father’s self-sacrifice. After his first contract as an engine boy, Wendell embarked again after less than 3 weeks in his home country spent entirely in the quarantine facility of his province.
Speaking from Philippines, Manlangit added: “Winning this competition really means a lot. It will boost my confidence and inspire me to take great and meaningful shots. And having my photo on the cover of the book about seafarers makes me feel very proud. I can now finally share my photos and tell our story to the world. I hope people will see it and recognise the work and sacrifice that we make to keep this world moving forward even at this time of pandemic.”
Chair of the ITF Seafarers’ Trust, David Heindel spoke of the competition as an opportunity for seafarers to have their contributions recognised: “So often we take for granted that goods will just keep moving around the world, but to do that, to keep the global economy running, seafarers are absolutely vital and the industry and governments have an obligation to meet their needs. Not only during the pandemic but every day!”
According to the Head of the Trust, Katie Higginbottom, “The Seafarers Trust, working with partner unions and seafarers' welfare organisations, have supported seafarers through the pandemic and this includes gathering and sharing their stories so that their contribution and experience during this time is not lost and we can use it to help build a fairer future for seafarers – the theme of this year’s DOTS.
“Through this competition we’ve been able to get a snapshot of what seafarers have been dealing with during this period – the highs and the lows. It’s a really powerful selection of images and we’re so proud to be able to share them today.”
It’s not the first Trust photo initiative of this kind. Thousands of seafarers entered the ‘Still at Sea’ competition in 2020 which captured images of life at the height of the global pandemic.
The Seafarers' Union of Russia emphasizes that such images help to make sailors and their work visible to people who are far from the sea. If wider attention is drawn to the problems of crew members, especially at the highest level, the chances of positive changes and resolution of the shift crisis will increase.
You can see the photos that won the competition this year here:
Winner' photo: A portrait shot of Wendell Pineda, a native Filipino citizen, after work in the Inert Gas System together with the engine crew