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‘Our lobby is weak. Our associations are weak’: Frank Coles goes on the attack

Today is the final episode in the Maritime CEO Seafarer Leader Series powered by Ocean Technologies Group. Summing up the key takeaways from the mini-series in forthright fashion is Frank Coles, the CEO of Hong Kong-based Wallem Group.

Coles does not hold back in the episode, taking shipping to task over the crew change crisis for its failure to properly engage with authorities.

“Our lobby is weak. Our associations are weak,” Coles said, calling for a “dynamic shake-up” of the industry.

The Wallem boss predicted the crew change crisis would not pass for at least six months.

Coles went on to discuss changes he’d like to see with the Maritime Labour Convention, bringing up issues such as work/rest hours and wifi onboard.

The Maritime CEO Leader Series will return next month.


Splash is Asia Shipping Media’s flagship title offering timely, informed and global news from the maritime industry 24/7.


  1. The easiest thing to do is to blame everyone but oneself! It is so convenient taking potshots at industry organisations and associations. It would be nice to hear from Mr Coles on what he’s done to “strengthen the lobby”?

  2. W.r.t. Crew change: Hong Kong, Singapore, Panama, Fujairah n Rotterdam owe their existence to shipping. They should come forward to facilitate crew chage, if need be , even if they are not the port of call for cargo operations.
    World must acknowledge the fact that seafarers are no longer keen on deserting ship for economic reasons, hence should not be treated as criminals.
    Work/Rest Hours: Can only be maintained honestly if adequate crew is provided with regards to ship’s route frequency of port of calls, duration of river, straits n channel pilotage. Owners do not increase the complement strength managers find ways to convince ship masters it can be managed so the vicious circle goes on with blame game when fudged entries are detected by port state. Manning Certificates are issued blindly by flag states with minimum hands on board.
    Everyone knows but pretends to brush it under the rug n pass the buck…

    1. Panama has been at the helm of crew changes since April. Over 6000 crew have disembarked in PANAMA and have joined their ships or have taken a flight to go back to their homes. Pls blame the crisis in countries that DO NOT ALLOW crew to reach their airports because they are closed! Blame the crisis on countries that Do not open borders or those that ports are closed. Try to go back home to Madagascar or Samoa, they are closed! So what those seafarers Fm those countries can do?

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