The crew change, which had been periodically happening at the Chennai port, has been struck following the stringent Covid-19 protocols that are now in place.
Shipowners, seafarers’ unions and maritime employer groups are establishing their own approved international network of quarantine facilities to ensure seafarers can safely join ships, despite unpredictable changes to government border policies.
At its 32nd session, the IMO Assembly adopted a resolution on comprehensive action to address seafarers’ challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The crew change Indicator points to a small improvement of the situation and a significant increase in vaccination rates; nonetheless, the industry still faces many challenges in repatriating and sourcing crew.
The Maritime Safety Committee (MSC), 104th session, 4-8 October 202, approved a draft IMO Assembly resolution consolidating issues related to crew change, access to medical care, ʺkey workerʺ designation and seafarers’ prioritization for COVID-19 vaccination.
The first vaccination data from the Neptune Declaration Crew Change Indicator shows that only 15.3% of seafarers are vaccinated. Figures from ten top ship managers confirm that the crew change crisis continues to increase.
The preventable death of a seafarer is a reminder to the Australian Government to implement a nationally consistent standard operating procedure for crew changes on trading vessels.
With travel and quarantine restrictions imposed to stop the spread of COVID-19, many seafarers have been stranded on vessels, working beyond their contracts.
DNV is embarking on an instrumental role in helping to facilitate safe crew changes amid South East Asia’s COVID crisis as an auditor in the multi-party backed CrewSafe programme.