Senate pass amendments: The Senate has passed the amendments to the Shipping Act yesterday. The legislation charts the course for greater levels of protection for Jamaican ship workers anywhere in the world. It received unanimous support in the Upper House of Parliament.

By the time the cruise industry recovers from COVID-19, the new Shipping Act 2020 will have long sailed after Senators unanimously voted to amend  the’ 13 year old legislation. It’s expected to protect Jamaican Seafarers anywhere in the world.

There have been several reports of exploitation of ship workers, now called seafarers, stemming from the point of engagement, their contracts.

But now, under the legislation, every Jamaican vessel that employs a Jamaican must have a Seafarer employment agreement including their wage calculation, health and social security benefits.

The legislation also changes the minimum working age from 16 years to 18. It also comes with a few restrictions when working with areas that may threaten their health and safety.

The Trade Unionists in the Senate describe the passage of the legislation as a proud moment for Seafarers.

Meanwhile, Opposition Senator, Janice Allen suggests Seafarers be considered priority in the initial distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine to be ready by April next year.

Several cruise ships have canceled their season due to the threat of COVID-19. In November, five passengers aboard the first cruise ship to resume sailing in the Caribbean tested positive for the coronavirus.