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Crew change in Singapore

ITF and IMEC contribute $500,000 to Singapore crew change fund

The International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) and the International Maritime Employers’ Council (IMEC) have jointly contributed $500,000 to a Singapore fund to support countries in best practices for crew change.

Singapore Shipping Tripartite Alliance Resilience (SG-STAR) Fund was set-up in August by Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), Singapore Shipping Association (SSA), Singapore Maritime Officers' Union (SMOU), and Singapore Organisation of Seamen (SOS). With initial funding of SGD1m, the fund now totals SGD1.68m ($1.2m).

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) is also lending support to the fund which will be disbursed for use in countries where seafarers come from seeking to help solve the crew change crisis that unfolded across the industry due to Covid-19 travel restrictions.

Stephen Cotton, ITF general secretary said: “For over six months, the crew change crisis has seen hundreds of thousands of seafarers either trapped on ships or unemployed at home, desperate to get to work. For the world’s seafarers, they need practical solutions now, not tomorrow, to end this humanitarian crisis and get seafarers to and from ships in a safe manner. This joint initiative, working  with tripartite partners to promote practical solutions to the crew change crisis, will be key to breaking the current deadlock.”

IMEC Chairman,Capt. Belal Ahmed said: “We are pleased to join the SG-STAR Fund and hope bring our expertise to help find solutions to this crisis. I am confident this determined partnership will lead the way to practical approaches to a crisis  that is expected to stay with us for months to come.”

A taskforce has been formed by the fund that aims to work with countries such as the Philippines and India on initiatives including the accreditation of quarantine and isolation facilities, Covid-19 PCR testing certification, “white-listing” of clinics for PCR testing, digital solutions for tracking crew change, and interactive training sessions for crew to help them understand crew change procedures and guidelines.

Caroline Yang, president of SSA said: “We look forward to have more like-minded international partners come on board this tripartite initiative so that safe crew change can be further accelerated.”

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