150,000 Seafarers Will Be in Need of Crew Change by May 15


Data from the International Chamber of Shipping ICS and the International Maritime Employers’ Council (IMEC) shows that 150,000 seafarers are in need of crew change by 15 May, reports Safety4Sea. 

Warnings from ICS

ICS, in a release said that the number has increased by 50% from 100,000 when ICS initially highlighted the problem with national governments and the G20. ICS warned that continued inaction will see rise in number as more seafarers will require crew change.

Due for crew changes

The below numbers are those who are due for crew changes:

  • 40,000 seafarers are from the Philippines, 
  • 20,000 from India, 
  • 15,000 from Ukraine and 
  • 10,000 from China.

Safety and mental wellbeing at risk!

According to ICS, the current situation risks the safety and mental wellbeing of seafarers. The continued inability to rotate seafarers on and off ships poses a serious threat to the ability of ships to deliver vital cargo at a time when countries need it most.

The shipping industry has been negotiating with national and international authorities in recent weeks to try and resolve the issue with some limited progress reported.

Secretary general of the ICS

Guy Platten, secretary general of the ICS, said: 

“Globally there are 1.2 million seafarers onboard 65,000 ships at sea. For the past two months crew change has all but completely stopped. This means that crew have not been able to disembark or embark ships at port and terms have had to be extended, but this is not sustainable.”

The Mission to Seafarers 

A recent poll conducted by The Mission to Seafarers reveals dread, fatigue and burn out onboard during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This poll gives an insight into the lives of seafarers during the global Covid-19 pandemic. 

What does the report reveal?

The report revealed that 

  • Seafarer happiness is lower.
  • They have clear concerns about current safety and welfare provision for those serving at sea.
  • They are urgently calling for improved connectivity between shore and sea.
  • They need greater support across the industry during this unprecedented time.

Overall seafarer happiness drop!

The index, undertaken in association with the Shipowners’ Club and Wallem Group, is a tool for measuring the experiences of seafarers across the global maritime industry. 

A drop from Q4 2019

The latest report has provided a platform for seafarers to share their experiences of life at sea during the pandemic. The report as expected showed overall seafarer happiness dropping to 6.30 in 21 2020, down from 6.39 since Q4 2019. 

Special COVID-19 report

This special Covid-19 report focused on the main areas raised by seafarers within this quarter’s survey:

  • workload, 
  • shore leave and 
  • interaction of crew on board.

Seafarers response

Across all responses, the call from seafarers was clear. 

  • The combination of increased workloads, 
  • extended contracts and 
  • increased isolation leaves the majority of seafarers feeling stressed, anxious and exhausted.

Vulnerable and susceptible to the virus

The report stated that there is a sense of constant dread and even paranoia creeping in. Seafarers apart from dealing with normal cargo operations are also now coping with precautions, sanitising and living under a constant fear of infection, which can make them feel even more vulnerable and susceptible to the virus.

Additional responsibilities

Seafarers are reporting greater levels of fatigue and burn out, as they are forced to keep on working without a sense of when they might be heading back home on leave.

“Hospital standards” of hygiene

Where there have been increases in workload, these were felt more acutely by those crew who have been charged with enhanced cleaning and disinfecting of accommodation areas. 

Seafarers reported having to keep vessels to “hospital standards” of hygiene, and they reported an ongoing and relentless struggle to ensure their vessels remain virus free.

New constants of daily life

Scrubbing, hosing, and wiping are the new constants of daily life.These additional responsibilities only “intensify” seafarers’ already heavy work schedules, the report noted.

“Cuts in manpower, increased paperwork, constant demands from shore management, uncaring regimes onboard, all add up to a workload tsunami which seafarers feel swamped with daily,” the 15-page report states.

PPE an added problem

PPE was also cited as a problem, both the lack of it and the instances where officials come onboard but are not properly or adequately protected.

In addition, policies which demand “zero contact were considered unrealistic and difficult to manage.”

Happiness Index highlights the pressures and fears

Louise Hall, director – loss prevention at the Shipowners’ Club, commented: 

“This pivotal edition of the Happiness Index highlights the pressures and fears of those serving on board during the Covid-19 pandemic. It is our belief that by collecting and sharing this information, we are helping to inform the many facets of the maritime industry of the critical concerns of our seafarers at this most challenging time.”

Protecting seafarers is the key 

Steven Jones, founder of the Seafarers Happiness Index, commented: 

“It is paramount that industry calls for seafarers to be recognised as key workers are acted upon and that we support those who are maintaining our global supply chains. Protecting our seafarers is key to protecting our industry. It is our duty and responsibility to provide them with all the tools needed to be safe, particularly while many are prevented from returning home.”

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Source: Splash247


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