- Thai Union has started to distribute more than 500 medical kits to Thailand’s fishing fleet.
- The kits will be delivered to vessels in Thai Union’s supply chain and to the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF).
- This initiative bolsters Thai Union’s existing work around health and safety, such as the provision of training sessions to more than 350 fishers in Thailand so far.
BANGKOK, May 23, 2022 – Thai Union plans to deliver more than 500 medical kits to Thai fishing vessels by the end of 2022. The project will distribute the kits to the fishing communities that Thai Union sources from in Thailand, and additionally include COVID-19 antigen self-testing kits. These will be distributed to vessels in Thai Union’s supply chain and will ensure that fishers have immediate access to basic medicines, a requirement under Thai Union’s Vessel Code of Conduct, and tests to find out whether they have COVID-19. Thai Union will distribute a proportion of the kits to support fishers’ health and safety in the wider fishing community by providing them to their NGO partner, the ITF Fishers’ Rights Network (FRN), who are in contact with other fishers and fishing companies. FRN already have a presence in coastal provinces in Thailand and have a track record in working on labor rights issues in the fishing industry.
“The ITF Fishers Rights Network is committed to raising health and safety standards throughout the seafood supply chain and is excited to partner with Thai Union to ensure that fishers have immediate access to basic medicine and first aid equipment onboard,” said Jon Hartough, ITF Thailand Project Lead. “FRN will continue working with vessel owners and partners to verify that first aid kits are regularly checked and restocked, and that fishers are trained on emergency injury procedures and safe practices at sea. Thai Union is taking a leading role in efforts to protect fishers throughout their supply chain, and we hope other industry players will follow.”
Prad Kerdpairoj, Director of Sustainability Asia at Thai Union, said: “Fishers are the lifeblood of our industry, and it’s critical we demonstrate leadership in improving and protecting their health and safety at sea. This is a core part of our SeaChange® sustainability strategy, which not only advocates for healthy oceans, but better work and welfare for fishers in our supply chain. We have aligned this work with the Thai Ministry of Labor’s recent call for employers to implement health and safety measures at sea in line with the Thai laws.”
Each kit contains 20 medical items and instructions in Thai, Burmese and Cambodian. Items range from alcohol-based antiseptic to plasters, as well as medical material to treat accidents and illnesses spanning ankle sprains, cuts, diarrhea, constipation and headaches. Third party audits of vessels and feedback from ITF identified that most Thai vessels have very basic medical supplies and that there is still a low level of understanding and training to use them.
The initiative bolsters Thai Union’s existing program to enhance the health and safety of workers on board fishing vessels by running training sessions together with the ITF. This initiative has been funded in collaboration with Mars Petcare, Nestlé and The J.M. Smucker Co. The partners have already provided health and safety training for 350 individuals and distributed 120 medical kits. With COVID-19 restrictions being lifted, Thai Union will intensify its in-person vessel crew training in the coming months.
The Group’s commitment to health and safety aligns with ambitions set out in its sustainability strategy, SeaChange®. Under the Safe & Legal Labor and Responsible Sourcing pillars, Thai Union commits to the welfare of workers in its supply chain.
-NOTES TO EDITORS-
About Thai Union
Thai Union Group PCL is the world’s seafood leader, bringing high quality, healthy, tasty and innovative seafood products to customers across the world for 45 years.
Today, Thai Union is regarded as one of the world’s leading seafood producers and is one of the largest producers of shelf-stable tuna products with annual sales exceeding THB 141.0 billion (US$ 4.5 billion) and a global workforce of more than 44,000 people who are dedicated to pioneering sustainable, innovative seafood products.
The company’s global brand portfolio includes market-leading international brands such as Chicken of the Sea, John West, Petit Navire, Parmentier, Mareblu, King Oscar, and Rügen Fisch, Thai-leading brands SEALECT, Fisho, Qfresh, Monori, OMG Meat, Bellotta and Marvo, and ingredient and supplement brands UniQ®BONE, UniQ®DHA and ZEAvita.
As a company committed to innovation and globally responsible behavior, Thai Union is proud to be a member of the United Nations Global Compact, and a founding participating company of the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF). In 2015, Thai Union introduced its SeaChange® sustainability strategy. Find out more at seachangesustainability.org. Thai Union’s on-going work on sustainability issues was recognized when the company was listed on the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI) for the eighth consecutive year in 2021 and ranked number two in the world on the Food Products Industry Index. Thai Union was also named to the FTSE4Good Emerging Index for the fifth straight year in 2020.