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First global tripartite initiative to support countries for crew change gathers momentum

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and the International Maritime Employers’ Council (IMEC) have jointly contributed $500,000 to the Singapore Shipping Tripartite Alliance Resilience (SG-STAR) Fund to support countries that adopt best practices for crew change. This adds to the S$1m ($737,000) SG-STAR Fund established by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), Singapore Shipping Association (SSA), Singapore Maritime Officers’ Union (SMOU), and Singapore Organisation of Seamen (SOS).

Progress is needed on ways crew can show their negative Covid-19 test results

Besides ITF and IMEC, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) will also lend support to the SG-STAR Fund including technical expertise in shipping.

With the contribution and support by ITF, IMEC and ICS, the SG-STAR Fund is the first global tripartite initiative bringing together like-minded international partners from the industry, unions and government to facilitate safe crew changes. The fund, based in Singapore, will be disbursed for use upstream in countries where seafarers come from. Like-minded partners are being sought to join this new global alliance.

ITF general secretary Stephen Cotton said the SG-STAR Fund has the potential to support practical solutions to reduce the severity of the crew change crisis for the world’s 1.4m seafarers.

“For over six months, the crew change crisis has seen hundreds of thousands of seafarers either trapped on ships or unemployed at home, desperate to get to work. For the world’s seafarers, they need practical solutions now, not tomorrow, to end this humanitarian crisis and get seafarers to and from ships in a safe manner. This joint initiative, working with tripartite partners to promote practical solutions to the crew change crisis, will be key to breaking the current deadlock,” Cotton said.

Cotton urged for progress on ways seafarers can show authorities and employers their negative Covid-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test results from verified medical institutions, so that quarantine times can be reduced onboard and while waiting to join vessels.

Kitack Lim, secretary-general of the International Maritime Organization, said, “This is a commendable global initiative bringing together the collective efforts of governments, the shipping industry and maritime unions to take concrete steps to address the urgent issue of crew change.”

Since its founding three weeks ago, the SG-STAR Fund has been working with seafarer supplying countries such as the Philippines and India on key initiatives, which include the accreditation of quarantine and isolation facilities, Covid-19 PCR testing certification, white-listing of clinics for PCR testing, digital solutions for tracking crew change, and interactive training sessions for crew to help them understand crew change procedures and guidelines.

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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. The fastest way to solve the crewchange issue iwould be to demand negative COVID test results for every port official & worker coming on board.

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