Crew crisis on the rise again?
Shipping companies fear that the number of seafarers affected by the crew change crisis is on the rise due to travel restrictions imposed by governments to combat the new variants of the virus. The latest industry analyses show that 200,000 seafarers are currently affected, a significant reduction from the height of the crisis in which 400,000 seafarers had to be repatriated.
“The crew change crisis has not been resolved but has reached a situation where it has been more manageable. However, there is great concern over increased travel restrictions imposed by governments in response to new variants. Seafarers must be designated as key workers,” said Guy Platten, ICS secretary general.
So far, only 55 countries and two IMO associate members have declared seafarers key workers and more needs to be done to ensure crews do not again become collateral damage in the pandemic.
In a landmark ruling in December 2020, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) found that governments have failed to protect seafarers' rights as established by international law under the 2006 Maritime Labour Convention. The UN agency called on states to recognise seafarers as key workers "without delay". (cd) $