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Seafarers stranded by virus cause big increase in labour costs

SHIPOWNERS are facing rising labour costs as Covid restrictions continue to limit the movement of seafarers, reports Bloomberg News

07 October 2020 - 19:00

SHIPOWNERS are facing rising labour costs as Covid restrictions continue to limit the movement of seafarers, reports Bloomberg News.

Since replacing seafarers has become so unmanageable during the pandemic, daily crew costs have increased 10 per cent from January to mid-July. The increase is up to US$3,144 for Capesize dry-bulk carriers. That figure is the highest since the bourse began tracking the data on a quarterly basis in May last year.



Restrictions have caused a humanitarian crisis among the world's seafarers, the often-unseen labour behind global trade who are increasingly stuck aboard ships beyond their employment contracts or even the limits allowed under maritime law.



There are now 400,000 seafarers stranded at sea despite repeated calls from the industry to address the situation.



'Whilst we have seen more crew transfers taking place in recent months, there is clearly still a long way to go,' said the Baltic Exchange.



Some firms are redirecting vessels to a narrow number of ports that facilitate changes, while others have chartered flights to relieve and repatriate seafarers.



Higher crew and operational costs are usually borne by shipowners and if the global crew-change crisis persists, owners may push for the extra expenses to be shared by other parties.


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