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150,000 seafarers are in need of crew change by May 15

New data compiled by the International Chamber of Shipping ICS and the International Maritime Employers’ Council (IMEC) has found that 150,000 seafarers are in need of crew change by 15 May. This number is up by 50% from 100,000 when ICS first highlighted the problem with national governments and the G20. Continued inaction will see this number continue to rise as more seafarers require crew change, ICS warned in a release yesterday.

Among those who are due for crew changes 40,000 seafarers are from the Philippines, 20,000 from India, 15,000 from Ukraine and 10,000 from China.

“The current situation risks the safety and mental wellbeing of seafarers. While the continued inability to rotate seafarers on and off ships poses a serious threat to the ability of ships to deliver vital cargo at a time when countries need it most,” the ICS stated.

The shipping industry has been negotiating with national and international authorities in recent weeks to try and resolve the issue with some limited progress reported.

Guy Platten, secretary general of the ICS, said: “Globally there are 1.2 million seafarers onboard 65,000 ships at sea. For the past two months crew change has all but completely stopped. This means that crew have not been able to disembark or embark ships at port and terms have had to be extended, but this is not sustainable.”

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Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.

Comments

  1. And meanwhile some of the countries which have the strictest anti-seafarer measures suggest that they could detain ships for breaching MLC agreements (Australia)! If they got their acts together they could actually assist in resolving the matter instead of adding extra complications and intimations of detentions.

  2. Companies & crew have already their hands full, now people who have just one book to follow which was meant for normal times must think outside the same book.

  3. Nobody will care, only talking,,, bla bla.

    Everybody is urging to find a solution but however without result. As long as local governments allow only chartered airplanes for those named key worker, then which owner will suport these costs? At the end is just money, others are cancan.

    1. just spoke to a collegue a Philip.Master,he said very simple,better be longer on board with a good salary than at home jobless.We had one year contract as Master and survived.

      1. Nobody is forcing Philip to sign off. He can stay on board for 3 years if he wishes to do so. The rest of us demand to return to our families at once. Other wise very soon the Ships operators will start to face problems from the reaction of angry seamen.

    2. Let me ask and address this to the concern, what happen to MLC.. It should be protecting the welfare of the seafarer. We’re they protected now with the current situation? Are you waiting for them to get crazy,bec mental stress.. Did you do something for them now? It’s been almost 3 mos already. And we feel neglected for your delayed actions. Walk the talk.. Please

  4. Which courses are needed for one to qualify as a seafarer.
    We have those who did degree in Marine at Moi University, Kenya and have no jobs.

    Can they be absorbed?

    1. Let me ask to the concern, what happen to MLC.. It should be protecting the welfare of the seafarer. We’re they protected now with the current situation? Are you waiting for them to get crazy,bec mental stress.. Did you do something for them now? It’s been almost 3 mos already. And we feel neglected for your delayed actions. Walk the talk.. Please

  5. My deep emphaty to all dear seafarer colleagues onboard.
    If we may have in detail the country of the rest of 65.000 others crew would be helpfull as we could let the Indonesian and other cointry Administration or crew agent to pay a solution on the matters. Thanks for the news.

  6. Lock down conditions are new for landlubbers but seafarers have lived these onboard over ages while sailing high seas from one destination to another. Under Covid 19 pandemic, seafarers are much safer onboard their ships. Crew changes can be affected when travel normalcy returns. ICS SHOULD DEVISE FOOL PROOF MECHANISM FOR CREW CHANGE AND COME OUT WITH CONCRETE SOP RATHER THAN SHEDDING JUST CROCODILE TEARS FOR SEAMAN. IMO ALSO SITTING OVER IT – SHOULD CONSTITUTE A COMMITTEE TO STUDY PANDEMIC SITUATION GLOBALLY AND THEN FIND A SOLUTION ON PRIORITY BASIS.

  7. Your next story should be, how does one become a sea fairer? I served 22 years in the us navy and it’s not all that obvious.

  8. No solution until vessels actually stop. And then suddenly solution would be found in few days. Nobody except the seafarers are suffering from this situation. As long as seafarers are doing their job – who cares.

    1. 100 % Agree
      Companies are happy- vessels are working. No expenses for crew change -again profit.
      People on board? Nobody cares. And this is a true- we are just numbers…..

      IMO- useless organization .

  9. Its good for all seafarer to they have crew change as soon as possible..

  10. i definitely agree with u…my husband is a seafarer and his contract ends this 14th of May. In my simple analyzation it would be better and safe for him to stay on board while the pandemic is still on it’s peak since travelling home amidst this health hazard is a great risk..they will be safer on board unless a crew change will be effected and sent immediately to the ship..new crews could bring infections to the remaining crews on board. Anyway many of them maybe opts to have stable income while the world is still scrambbling for a vaccine and people are struggling financially to feed their families. This is only in my honest opinion as a seafarer’s family and my deepest worry is that what if my husband contracts the virus on his way home since they will be directed to a 14day quarantine in a designated govt facility before they will be allowed home..imagining the worst we would not even get to see him then. Praying and hoping for more wisdom for all concerned to find a sound solution for this problem and praying for the safe return of our seafarers. With God’s amazing grace and intervention He will heal our world and we will.make it through this tough times..God bless us all🙏🙏🙏

  11. Despite of pandemic globally, vessels are continously on their trades. Crew change is hanging. With this plan, let it be done on May 15. Morethan a year onboard is a tough time… A lot of seafarer needed to be home – I am one of them.

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