Over 90% of world trade is carried by sea, providing work to 1.5 million seafarers. Shipping is a truly international industry: in today’s global market you might have a Greek-owned vessel, registered in Malta, with officers from India and a mixed crew from Thailand, Indonesia, Vanuatu, and the Philippines.

However, it is also one of the world's most dangerous occupations, in 2017, there were 2,611 casualties. The rate of suicide for international seafarers is triple that of shore workers, and they are 26 times more likely to be killed at work.

Incidents of piracy may have hit an 18-year-low at the end of 2016, but an increase in kidnappings in parts of Asia and West Africa, and the return of activity in Somalia (over 40 seafarers have been kidnapped by Somali pirates have been held for three years) shows the risks should not be underestimated.

According to the International Chamber of Shipping, there are 50,054 ships in the global fleet