International Chamber of Shipping makes urgent plea for crew changes
'RED tape and bureaucracy must not be allowed to trap our seafarers or lead to economic problems in your countries,' said International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) secretary general Guy Platten
13 July 2020 - 19:00
Speaking to the Ministerial International Maritime Summit on Crew Changes hosted by the United Kingdom in London, Mr Platten demanded that seafarers to be classified as Key Workers, which is a vital first step in resolving the situation.
'There are 200,000 workers who have overrun their contracts and are currently stranded on ships. Another 200,000 are at shore, waiting to start their tours of duty. This is causing a humanitarian crisis, with seafarers unable to be reunited with families,' said the ICS statement that represents shipowners worldwide.
The evidence is clear, said the statement. The risk presented by cargo ships and crew travel is relatively low, especially given the health protection measures being taken by our industry.
Said Mr Platten: 'Each of you know the value that shipping brings to your country. Shipping transports US$7 trillion worth of raw materials, goods, including medical equipment, food and fuel each year. If this crew change issue is not resolved, we could start to see a logjam which will impact each and every one of you in your ability to trade globally.
'The shipping industry is very pragmatic, and we are adept at finding solutions however this is one issue we absolutely cannot resolve without your intervention,' he said.
'The humanitarian crisis unfolding is very real. We as employers have been doing all we can, but seafarers cannot extend their tours of duty indefinitely - the situation is unsustainable and at breaking point,' Mr Platten said.
'If we cannot change our crews, then ships ultimately cannot continue to operate safely. And this will have a serious impact on the movement of trade, at this time of crisis and economic uncertainty.
'This unsustainable situation has a clear solution: a regulator-approved 12-step crew change road map. While the shipping community has been hard at work, too many national governments have dragged their heels,' he said.
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