HK's shipping fraternity lends support to crew change operations locally
THE Hong Kong Shipowners Association (HKSOA) and the Hong Kong Liner Shipping Association (HKLSA) have stressed the importance of supporting seafarers and facilitating crew change operations, which are in the interest of the global community including Hong Kong
THE Hong Kong Shipowners Association (HKSOA) and the Hong Kong Liner Shipping Association (HKLSA) have stressed the importance of supporting seafarers and facilitating crew change operations, which are in the interest of the global community including Hong Kong.
In a joint statement, the two associations said seafarers from all over the world are making an essential contribution to ensuring that the global supply chain of all vital goods, such as fuel, food and medical supplies, continues to function at this difficult time.
'Indeed, world seaborne trade is estimated to account for 90 per cent of world trade. Like other 'key workers', seafarers deserve our support and respect,' the statement added.
Commenting on current public concerns about imported infection cases form certain categories of people coming to Hong Kong, including seafarers, the two associations said the industry fully supports the government to take all necessary measures to protect the local community.
'These include, among others, requiring seafarers to take a virus test within 48 hours prior to departing for the Hong Kong airport, and to take another virus test on their arrival at the airport.
'With the recent fast-changing Covid-19 situation in Hong Kong, the two Associations have already asked their member companies to postpone or re-schedule their crew changes in the Hong Kong port for at least three weeks, unless those operations are absolutely necessary for ship safety or on compassionate grounds.'
Chairman of the HKSOA, Bjorn Hajgaard, said; 'The coronavirus pandemic impacts us all. Nobody can tell how this will play out eventually, but what we do know is that shipping, as the facilitator of the world supply chain, is indispensable for human beings to win this battle.
'Seafarers are key workers and need to be able to go to and from work, as we expect from doctors, nurses and first responders. Otherwise the global economy will come to a screeching halt.'
Mr Hajgaard noted that many other major ports in the world have already gradually made special arrangements to facilitate crew changes. Hong Kong, he added, 'as part of the global community and a global maritime centre, should play its role too'.
Roberto Giannetta, chairman of the HKSLA, said: 'In this difficult time for all, the most important thing is for the global community, including Hong Kong, to work together for the common good. Currently, about 300,000 seafarers unfortunately remain trapped at sea. Crew change that relieves these stranded crew and enables world trade to continue is essential for every reason.'