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Crew Change Crisis

ICS warns minority flouting crew change protocols risk ‘severe setbacks’ for all

Photo: Wilhelmsen Crew change with masks under COVID protocols
Crew change in Singapore
The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has hit out those failing to comply with crew change protocols saying they put the industry at risk of severe setbacks in the positive progress that has been made with governments.

ICS described reports of ship managers and individuals failing to comply with national guidelines on crew change and Covid-19 as “alarming”.

Singapore has reported crew arriving in the country with Covid-type symptoms and a 14-day stay home isolation period not being “taken seriously” by some crew joining vessels.

ICS said the incidents of non-compliance put the industry at risk of severe setbacks to the positive progress made so far. The ICS and wide variety of industry partners have lobbied for months to get crew changes moving again with some 250,000 seafarers stuck on their vessels after their contracts expired.

This has included 12-step crew change protocols which were published by the IMO.

Guy Platten secretary-general of the ICS stated: “We must remember that the vast majority of shipowners are going to extraordinary lengths to safely repatriate crew and return them home to their families. Acts that are only made possible by governments adopting the crew change protocols.

“However, it’s undeniable that ship managers and crewing agents who do not follow the protocol guidance are risking the safety of our seafarers and those around them. The very reason these protocols where produced were to ensure that crew change can be undertaken safely, minimising the risk of transmission to seafarers and the public alike.

“We must stand firm as an industry and work together to ensure we maintain the highest standards possible. Continuing on the positive momentum gained over recent weeks to ensure that we get back to 100% crew change.”