Some charterers and owners are not painting themselves in a good light in terms of helping out with shipping’s humanitarian crisis at sea.
With around 300,000 crew stuck at sea working beyond their contracts due to Covid-19 travel restrictions some seafarers have been willing to take matters into their own hands, taking up the International Transport Workers Federation call to down tools in a desperate bid to get home.
Splash has learnt that some shipowners are now asking managers to cut internet at sea so seafarers cannot share tactics on how best to effect crew change by stopping work.
Also, charterers are increasingly requesting for a ‘no crew change’ clause to be inserted into charter parties, demanding owners pick up the cost related to deviation and time lost.
Charterers have been urged repeatedly to play their part in ensuring crew get home.
Speaking with Splash TV last month, Francesco Gargiulo, the CEO of the International Maritime Employers’ Council (IMEC), said there has been little appetite on the charterers’ part to share in the problems that the industry is facing regarding crew changes.
Shipping organisation BIMCO has developed a deviation clause, which seeks to share some of the financial burden of getting crew repatriated during the coronavirus pandemic.
“The sad news is there’s been very little uptake of that clause because there is little appetite on the charterers’ part to share in the problems that the industry is facing,” said IMEC’s Gargiulo in a recent episode of the Maritime CEO Seafarer Leader Series.
In other crew change news, Qatar Airways has said it is willing to fly up to three times a day to and from three destinations in the Philippines from its hub in Doha to help fix the seafarer repatriation issue, but the airline has yet to get the green light from the government in Manila for the increased slots to the country, the world’s top crewing provider.
Meanwhile, in India the authorities continue to update guidance on crew change procedures. Mumbai-headquartered agency Atlantic Global Shipping has provided a useful update on the Indian ports where crews can sign on and off. The document can be viewed here.