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Top manager takes aim at unfair coronavirus stance on crew

One of the world’s top shipmanagers has hit out at the unfair treatment of stranded crew thanks to the coronavirus.

Thousands of seafarers around the world are having to adjust to longer time away from home as signing on and off ships has become far trickier thanks to the spread of the illness.

Wilhelmsen has been providing a daily updated map of port restrictions around the world (see below), which clearly shows authorities are clamping down on crew change.

However, Bjorn Hojgaard, the CEO of Anglo-Eastern, one of the world’s largest shipmanagement companies, has questioned why crew are being targeted and not their airline counterparts.

Taking to Twitter today, Hojgaard mused: “With all the travel restrictions/quarantine requirements, how do airline crew manage? Well, they are exempt… which poses the question: Why are the world’s merchant marine crew not also exempt? Supply chains are vital to the world; we must allow seafarers to sign on/off freely.”

The International Labour Office, which serves as the permanent secretariat for the International Labour Organization, last week ruled that flag states can forgo Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) annual leave entitlements for crew thanks to coronavirus containment restrictions.

‘The Office is of the view that the competent authority may authorise – within specific limits – exceptions to the prohibition to forgo annual leave under Standard A2.4, paragraph 3, of the MLC, 2006 for imperative reasons of public health emergency such as the need to contain the current coronavirus outbreak,” the labour bureau stated in an advisory.

The impact on crew repatriation and despatch has been enormous, providing a very significant human kink in global trade in the last couple of months.

“Crew reliefs are being postponed to vessel’s next port of call. Crew are naturally getting anxious and we are supporting them as we must,” Kishore Rajvanshy, managing director of Hong Kong-based Fleet Management, told Splash last month.

With coronavirus spreading, the crew travel headache is worsening.

Anne Steffensen, CEO of Danish Shipping, told Splash: “For the seafarers our members have in the same way as other shipping companies for some time now had challenges with for example crew change in certain parts of the world, and that can now be expected to expand and also include parts of Europe with the increased travel restrictions we see – but we hope to be able to overcome them.”

Nikos Gazelidis, global head of shipping at ATPI, one of the biggest names in crew travel, said he and his team have been working around the clock to make thousands of changes to seafarer travel plans in recent weeks.

“The coronavirus situation continues to change at a significant pace and as a result is impacting on crew travel programmes and itineraries,” Gazelidis told Splash.

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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. WHEN WILL THE SHIP MANAGERS STOP TREATING SAILORS AS GODS GIFT TO HUMANITY AND SUPPLY CHAIN.
    THEY TALK ABOUT – AIRLINES. WONDER IF THEY R AWARE OF THE NUMBER OF FLIGHTS CANCELLED, PLANES PARKED, AIRLINE STAFF SITTING AT HOME WITH NO OR MINIMUM PAY.
    SO ITS NO BIG DEAL THAT A SAILOR HAS TO STAY ON BOARD AN EXTRA MONTH OR SO. IT WL NOT KILL HIM !!
    STOP SPOILING THEM AND PUTTING THEM ON A PEDESTAL.

    1. My friend Capt. Jolly.
      How long have you been away from the land? May be just few hours after a long flight. Once u land you a given a decent hotel stay where you can rest and do a video call to your family and tell them you are safe and confirm they are safe.
      We sailors are away from family for months together. Seeing the same 21 people working with you almost everyday. You atleast get to see and interact with the beautiful air hostesses. We have to make expensive satelite phone calls or emails to connect at home. Our internet charges are 12 dollars for 40MB. While you must be enjoying free wifi of the hotel you’re given.
      You must be eating different cuisines but we have to have food prepared by the same cook whether you like it or no. And we are 24 hours duty for any emergency and alarms and false alarms for months together.
      I don’t say you are nothing in front of us. You reach us safely back home to our familes and we respect your job like we do others.
      So please keep yourself in our shoes once and think what we are going through and what all out job is about.
      Just don’t disrespect our proffesion. It’s a proud proffesion we have chosen just like you have chosen.

      1. Jolly is a joker. I have had the misfortune of working in his fleet for 13 years. He behaves like a king and treats crew as slaves. He lives life king style flying 1st class, putting up in 5* hotels and travels using limos. He lives in a different world all together and thus have very little regards for ship’s crew.

    2. It is very sad to see a man putting the title Captain before his name talking in this manner. A master of a vessel should be very well aware of how expectant a crew member is of his journey back home after serving 8 to 9 months onboard.

      1. Well it doesn’t matter a bit to a sadist like jolly. I have worked in his fleet for 13 long years and I have seen him from close quarters.

        1. Utter shame on you to be or call yourself as Captain. Step down already you are setting some real filthy examples for the people towards the sailors. You should be ashamed of the statement since you are already in their shoes yet you fail to empathize.

      1. This idiot jolly is a moron I have worked with for nearly 13 years as a master. He feels he is the king and ready are slaves. He is filled with enormous ego and treats crew like shit.
        Capt.s.c.chauhan

  2. I cannot accept the comment of Capt Jolly without demur.
    The airline staff are as observed likely sitting at home while the sea fares do not even have that possibility.

    1. IT COMES FROM A PERSON WHO DID NOT HAVE BALLS TO CONTINUE SAILING ONBOARD AND CHOSE TO HAVE A LIFE WHERE RANTING IS DIABOLICALLY EASIER FROM WITHIN THE HALLOWED WALLS OF OFFICE CORRIDOR.

      HYPOCRISY AT ITS BEST.

    2. Unacceptable comments.
      I have saved led in his fleet for 13 years and found him most unreasonable and hard headed. A real moron.

  3. Cpt M M Jolly,
    No one is asking for seafarers to be treated like “GOD”.
    Only a fair and reasonable treatment.
    When ever shipping market had gone through its lows, even seafarers have been sitting at home.
    For the airlines which are flying, its crew gets exempted to transit.
    That is what is being expected for seafarer’s as well. All transiting seafarers should be allowed, ofcourse with added precaution.

  4. Dear Capt. Jolly… As far as I understand, u r in a top position ( I know very well) where u must understand the pathetic situation of the people working for u…It’s their hardwork that’s making u to enjoy your position… so instead of making such a unscrupulous statement, atleast if you would have made some statements which brings in positive vibes to ur mentally tired crew who might’ve already completed their contractual period and more, but still finding it difficult get back home to their loved ones

    1. He truly holds a top position. I have worked with him for 13 years. He behaves like a king and treats crew like dirt. He has never been sympathetic and just believes in taking crew for a ride.

  5. What everyone including the so called Captain Jolly should understand is that this global slowdown is going to affect shipping too.
    For every seafarer stranded onboard, there is a un-employed seafarer sitting at home. Some ship’s crew are having 9 months contract’s and as pointed out by Crispino have to see the same 21 people most of the time during these periods particularly those working on VLCC’s having most of their operations at SBM’s.
    This global slowdown is going to impact shipping too and seafarers will loose their jobs as owners will put ships in lay-up due to this crisis situation.
    I guess such comments mean Mr. JOLLY is not a jolly good fellow 😉

  6. After serving 50 years plus in the marine sector it is rare to find such a deplorable statement from a Master.

  7. Dear Capt. M. M. Jolly,
    This is in reply to your above comment.
    I presume you are a ship owner. So I trust you will atleast agree that the sailors who man and move your ships are God’s gift to your goodself, if not to humanity, because without them your floating assets would remain mere pieces of junk.
    A concerned employer takes great interest in the welfare of his workers, in the knowledge that in their satisfaction lies his ultimate success story.
    On the other hand, a disgruntled employer may look down upon his employees with scorn.
    From your above post, I’m not quite sure where your thoughts fit.
    Logically, a person who uses the title Captain must have definitely sailed upon the seas at some stage of his life and would have experienced the solitary life of a sailor. So I need not elaborate to you, the sailors’ agony of isolation and missing family and social life, etc during long stints at sea. If you are of the opinion that its no big deal that a sailor has to stay an extra month onboard and this won’t kill him, then either you have forgotten your sailing days, if at all, or you are sadly out of sync with the reality of the life at sea in these times and need to urgently sail to come to terms with reality.
    Airline employees and sailors cannot be compared because, for one, the working conditions vastly differ.
    You may have the convenience of flying in and out of your home at short notice in good and bad times. Unfortunately, in the worst of situations at home, sailors may generally not make it in time. The least they expect is timely relief at the end of a long tenure onboard and that is what good Ship Managers endeavor to deliver to their sailing staff.
    This does not mean that they are putting sailors on a pedestal as you commented. Sailors are strong in body and mind to climb up to high positions through sheer hard work and dedication.
    I started my sea career with Anglo Eastern 25 years ago and remain there till this day ……. I am proud of my employers, like thousands others…..because THEY CARE.

  8. My dear co-sailors. It is heart warming to see all of us united to give a befitting reply to such unparliamentary language. May all my sailor friends who are away from their families and friends be soon reunited in good health and hale of heart. Here’s to all of you. A safe contract, and a healthy voyage home.

  9. Dear Jolly
    The word Capt before your name doesn’t really make sense or probably it sounds like calling a donkey by name. Even your name -jolly is a gross disrespect to the meaning of the word jolly itself.
    It must be well understood that seafarer’s life onboard is not normal and rather filled with hard work in a risky environment which demands high alertness at all times that too with very limited social life and away from family. The importance of seafarers being home in time after a long contract is far beyond your understanding i guess.
    Forget about us but praise God for moving an undeserved fool like you filled with crap sitting on such high level.
    Indeed like the saying goes …
    Yahaan ghode ko nai mil rahi hai ghass
    Aur ghadha Kaye chywanprash.

  10. I know lots of people still sailing in his fleet and rest be assured none of them is happy because of highheadedness on part of Jolly. Sadly they can’t come out in the open as seafarers have never remained United and that’s the reason why morons like jolly survive and prosper at their expenses. The hard work and enormous hardships faced by ships staff remains unrecognised specially by people like jolly.

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