ATPI Marine & Energy work alongside IMEC members, industry bodies and regulators in a move to identify the most efficient options to transport seafarers to and from ports for crew changes through both scheduled passenger flights and charter flights.
An estimated 150,000 crew are stranded on vessels past the expiry of their contracts due to measures by many nations to restrict movement in an effort to curb the COVID-19 pandemic. However, even where it is possible to conduct crew changes getting seafarers to and from the ports and their country of origin is extremely difficult due the lack of international flights.
Gary Pearce, chief commercial officer, ATPI, explained: “Global commerce has to continue, and goods need to move around the world. This means ship crews must be able to reach their vessels, and return home after long periods offshore.
“With most airlines grounded, the maritime industry is cleverly working together to ensure that seafarers can move in order to ensure the safe travel of their people, and that ships operate safely with adequate crew.”
ATPI noted that while it was cost prohibitive for individual companies to charter flights it was possible collectively with careful logistics planning and the 250 members of IMEC would now have access to specially chartered flights.
“We hope that by ensuring there are flights to the world’s busiest port cities that seafarers from many different shipping companies can continue to carry out their essential work and, importantly, return home afterwards. The industry is also working together to encourage airlines to prioritise returning to operation some of the most popular routes for the maritime sector,” Pearce said.
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