Bjørn Højgaard, the CEO of shipmanager Anglo-Eastern and chairman of the Hong Kong Shipowners Association has penned a letter to the local South China Morning Post along with Roberto Giannetta, the chairman of the Hong Kong Liner Shipping Association, hitting out at the irresponsible few seafarers who have set crew changes back for many in Asia.
A few rotten apples have brought disrepute to their peers and the industry
Splash has reported on seafarers who flouted quarantine laws in Hong Kong and Singapore recently, sparking a public outcry and leading to severe restrictions coming into place for crew changes in the two cities.
“A few rotten apples have brought disrepute to their peers and the industry,” Højgaard and Giannetta wrote in their letter to Hong Kong’s most read English newspaper.
The pair urged the Hong Kong government to impose penalties on anyone breaking the crew change protocols while seeking a solution to allow crew changes to increase safely in the Special Administrative Region.
Hong Kong over the weekend decided to ban all crew changes for ships that have no cargo operations scheduled in the southern Chinese city. Hong Kong had been one of Asia’s most open ports for crew changes in recent months but the city is now gripped by a third wave of the coronavirus pandemic with a slew of new regulations coming in to try and halt the spread of the virus. The crew change restrictions come into effect today.
“Once again, we would like to stress that like other ‘key workers’, seafarers are essential for the global community to fight this battle against the virus. Without these heroes at sea, world trade would come to a halt. If any of them are unfortunately infected, they deserve our support, not bias,” Højgaard and Giannetta wrote.
Anglo-Eastern, one of the world’s largest shipmanagers, today celebrated its 10,000th completed crew change since travel restrictions were brought into place with the spread of the coronavirus pandemic around the world.