The shipping industry urges G20 leaders and governments to facilitate free movement of crews to keep trade moving, issuing a set of recommendations to this end.
In a relevant announcement, the Cyprus Shipping Chamber (CSC), says that it fully supports the recommendations and stands ready to continue the ongoing discussions with the Shipping Deputy Ministry, the Cyprus Government and local stakeholders, in order to identify, the soonest possible, viable solutions on crew changes issues and to safeguard access to healthcare on shore, to the unseen heroes of global trade, our seafarers.
The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), issued a new message to G20 leaders, stating that “global trade is dependent on the world’s 2 million seafarers and marine personnel who operate the world’s merchant ships.”
“Given the expected continuation of travel and flight restrictions, there is a critical need for Governments to address the serious problem of facilitating ships’ crew changes. Without co-ordinated global action, the efficient flow of imports and exports carried by sea will be jeopardised, with negative impacts on the resilience of national economies throughout the COVID-19 crisis” it is added.
Some of the recommendations to G20 Leaders and Governments say that professional seafarers and marine personnel, regardless of nationality, should be designated as "key workers" providing an essential service and should be granted appropriate exemptions from national travel or movement restrictions, to enable them to join and leave ships.
Moreover, they call on all Governments to identify ports in their countries, and appropriate airports nearby, from where crew changes can safely be resumed as soon as possible.
Governments, in the event of medical emergencies, should also provide visiting seafarers with access to emergency medical treatment ashore and, if necessary, facilitate emergency repatriation as required by the ILO Maritime Labour Convention, 2006, it is added.
A final recommendation says that a special G20 taskforce on the issue of ships’ crew changes should be established as an effective response to the coronavirus pandemic.