Ship managers

Crew change crisis far from over warns top ship managers

The Neptune Declaration’s new crew change indicator polling 10 top ship managers presents a situation that appears to have improved markedly from last year, however, as border restrictions are reinstated with the crisis in Covid in India and the spread of new variants senior executives say the picture is grim.

The first indicator shows that in mid-April 2021, 5.8% of seafarers were on board ships beyond the expiration of their employment contract, and 0.4% of seafarers were on board. on board ships for more than 11 months, the maximum duration authorized by the Maritime Labor Convention. (MLC).

However, current figures do not give a complete picture of the situation facing the industry and its sailors in the future.

“Although the percentages for the first indicator appear low, this should not be taken as an indication that the crew change crisis is over. On the contrary, we are seeing worrying signs with the rapid spread of new strains of Covid, in India and other countries, which should be of great concern to our industry, ”said Rajesh Unni, CEO of Synergy Group. .

Bjorn Hojgaard, CEO of Anglo-Eastern Univan Group, issued a blunt warning: “The crew turnover crisis is far from over. In fact, 2021 is expected to be worse than last year, with the recent increase in Covid cases in many crew supplying countries making crew change in many cases impossible, due to the closure of ports for these sailors. nationality.

“The current very low number reported by major ship management companies is not indicative of the actual situation on the ground and the worsening of development over the coming months.”

In recent weeks, major ports like Fujairah, Singapore and Hong Kong have banned crew changes or the movement of sailors who have recently traveled to India and other countries on the subcontinent.

Hojgaard called for the priority vaccination of seafarers and for ports to allow rotation of vaccinated crews.

There was a similar message from Peter Burkal, Managing Director, OSM Maritime Crew, who said: “For over a year crew changes have been a major challenge for the industry, putting a lot of stress on the crew. ‘crew. The crew change crisis is far from over and we must continue to make efforts to prioritize seafarers as key workers to facilitate travel and get priority for vaccines. “

Thome also sees a tough time ahead. “After a long period where the seafarer community has been exposed to safety risks while traveling to and from their ships, we now envision another difficult time with the global increase in positive cases for Covid 19,” said said Simon Frank, Chief Human Resources Officer. Officer, Thome Group.

Explaining the Purpose of the New Crew Change Indicator Graham Westgarth, President of V.Group, said: “To better understand and resolve the crew change crisis, it is necessary to have access to accurate data that will allow stakeholders to monitor and respond to the situation, which is why we created the Neptune Declaration Crew Change Indicator.

The managers who participated in the survey were: Anglo-Eastern, Bernhard Schulte, Columbia Shipmanagement, Fleet Management, OSM, Synergy Marine, Thome, V.Group, Wallem and Wilhelmsen Ship Management. Legal advice was provided by Watson Farley Williams.

The Neptune Declaration was launched in January of this year and has been signed by over 800 companies and organizations.


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