In the ongoing crew repatriation battle Global Marine Travel (GMT) has partnered with the International Maritime Employers’ Council (IMEC) to amalgamate the shipping industry’s crew travel requirements to produce enough volume for airlines to bring idle aircraft into operation.
Approximately 150,000 merchant seafarers – including 40,000 Filipinos – are in need of crew changes, trapped onboard ships across the globe due to the continuing imposition of travel restrictions thanks to the spread of coronavirus.
GMT, one of the world’s largest crew travel specialists, has a fully equipped operational hub in Manila to coordinate group blocks with various airlines for the purpose of remobilising crew. GMT has begun with the routes where traffic has already started, or that is expected to start based on airport/border restrictions easing.
Based on need, GMT will then organise blocks of seats on scheduled carriers, seek extra sections or larger aircraft on routes, and can even organise chartered flights.
GMT is advising shipping companies to head to its site and fill out a form with the exact routing and dates of a desired crew change and then GMT will advise on the most appropriate course of action, and if applicable, will begin to gather crew names, nationalities, and other data needed to book flights.
GMT has also created a survey for shipmanagers to report on how many crew they have that need to be transported and possible flight routes of repatriation.
To assist governments to put in place coordinated procedures to facilitate the safe movement of seafarers, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) last week issued a 12-step plan to 174 member states, providing them with a roadmap to free seafarers from their Covid-19 lockdown and allow appropriate exemptions for them to join or leave ships.
The 55-page roadmap has been advanced by a broad coalition of seafarer unions, and international shipping industry associations, with input from airline industry representatives, international organisations, and the insurance sector, to provide a comprehensive blueprint of how governments can facilitate crew changeovers and resolve safety concerns throughout the entire process.