The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) will be using its convening power to bring national shipowning associations from around the world together on Thursday for the first of an ongoing set of meetings designed to identify swift and effective solutions with crew change near the top of the agenda.
As Splash has been reporting over the past month, thousands of crew have been unable to either leave or join their ships thanks to the spread of coronavirus and the subsequent banning of seafarers from many ports around the world.
Guy Platten, secretary general of ICS, told Splash today: “Economies around the world are entering into a period of profound change. The spread of the coronavirus has resulted in many countries closing their borders and restricting port entry. While containing the virus is vital, we must ensure that global trade is allowed to continue.
“The issue of crew change that has arisen due to the coronavirus should be of particular concern to the international community. Every day, seafarers across the world are providing a front-line service to the global economy. Limitations on crew change have the potential to cause serious disruption to the flow of trade.”
ICS has been working hard on the issue of crew change for some time now, having provided input to the EU whilst liaising with major international bodies such as the WHO, IMO, ILO and many others.
“This meeting will not be a one-off, but the beginning of a series of regular conference calls with our national associations in response to the significant challenge facing the world, our seafarers and the global shipping community. We want to ensure that all the issues the industry is facing can be addressed together,” Platten said.
Astonishingly when the shipping community needs support the bureaucrats of the IMO are silently hiding. We need enforcement of the port of refuge idea which is now becoming port of refuse. We need help with crew changes rather than regulations. Please!!
— Marcel Liedts (@MLiedts) March 16, 2020