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Crew Change Crisis

Improving situation on crew change, but more needs to be done

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Ahmed Belal, chairman of IMEC
While the crew change situation globally has improved from earlier in the year shipping cannot afford to be complacent and still more needs to be done, according to senior industry representatives.

Speaking for employers Ahmed Belal, chairman of IMEC, said, “We have come to a level that at least is not as bad as April and May, so we have made progress with regard to the of people who are still onboard and need to go home, and those who need to get back to sea.

“If you talk of numbers we have made much better progress, but this not enough, we need to do more, we need to bring a normalisation that we had prior to the Covid crisis. In this respect a lot of work still needs to be done,” he told the CrewConnect Global 2020 Virtual Event on Monday.

Belal sees a need to replicate model of quarantine and testing globally. “What we are doing now in ensuring the quarantine facility model is duplicated around the world so the crew can join safely, as long as we have process that we can bring the crew safely to the ship and bring them back home, even if this crisis continues till vaccines are available freely everywhere, we will still be able to do the crew changes that are needed,” he explained.

He warned that a failure to properly facility crew change would result in those unable to join ships leaving the industry to work in other sectors. “We are better than before, but we need to do much, much better so we don’t lose the seafarers we have at the moment,” Belal stated.

International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) secretary general Guy Platten, said that the industry could not afford to be complacent now.

“I think there’s been great strides forward in the last couple of months…. I think speaking with shipping companies they are generally managing to stabilise the situation and work with it at best and think that’s the message we need to get to governments. Governments shouldn’t just say that’s the problem solved, because it’s not.”

Andreas Nordseth, director general of the Danish Maritime Authority, commented: “We are nowhere near the end of this, and its very important we realise that. We still have challenges in ensuring repatriation and crew change, but I think it has improved definitely since the first couple of months because we have much better information sharing.”

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