It’s time for global governments to act decisively and improve crew changes.
That is the verdict of marine insurer UK P&I Club, as it calls for special exemptions to ease the burden on crews amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“COVID-19 has paralysed supply chains and the movement of people, but nowhere has the disruption been starker than the issue of crew changes,” said loss prevention director Stuart Edmonston. “Port restrictions and the global lockdown have stifled crew mobility and the repatriation of seafarers. Crew have had to remain on vessels well beyond their contracted period, while others have been unable to join their ships. We believe governments need to act decisively to ease the strain on global seafarers.
“Governments and relevant national authorities have been asked to introduce special exemptions for seafarers in laws restricting the movement of people during the pandemic and to ensure that means of transport, especially between ports, airports and the homes of the seafarers are available to crew. Additionally, a relaxation of documentary requirements for seafarers is necessary during these extraordinary times.”
Edmonston believes a framework of protocols for ship safety is needed – such as those drawn up by several global industry associations.
“It’s disappointing that few governments and national authorities have to date implemented this framework, as doing so would hugely assist in addressing the issues of safe conduct of crew changes and repatriation,” he said.