Liberia becomes first flag to sign up to crew change declaration

A missing part of the jigsaw to get crew home has been found.

The Liberian Registry has signed the Neptune Declaration on Seafarer Wellbeing and Crew Change, making it the first flag registry on the list of 300-plus maritime stakeholders, vowing to resolve the crew change crisis.

The declaration was unveiled at the Davos summit last week.

“It is an honour for us to sign, and we pledge to continue our efforts in facilitating crew changes aboard our 4,600 vessels around the globe,” said the Liberian flag’s chief operating officer Alfonso Castillero. “Covid-19 has created unprecedented challenges, and we have been fighting for the facilitation of crew changes since the early days of the pandemic, working closely with industry bodies such as ICS and ITF, port and coastal states, and with the owners and operators of Liberian flagged vessels.”

Signatories to the declaration, which include owners, managers, and charterer, are calling for efforts to designate seafarers as key workers; give them priority access to Covid-19 vaccines; ensure connectivity for air travel for seafarers; boost collaboration on crew change; and participate in implementing best-practice health protocols.

“There is so much more work to be done to solve this crisis, and we will continue to work day and night in support of this along with the other partner signatories of this very important declaration,” said Castillero.

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.
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