While Variant Risks Remain Uncertain, Crew Change Crisis Is Reducing

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According to the Global Maritime Forum’s Neptune Declaration Crew Change Indicator, the number of seafarers working on board ships after their contracts expire has dropped to its lowest level since May, although the impact of new variants paints an ambiguous picture of what lies ahead as reported by GCaptain.

Crew change indicator

The crew change indicator, now at its lowest since it has been published, points to an improvement of the crew change crisis situation and a stably increasing vaccination rate.

Nevertheless, new challenges may arise with the spread of the new Omicron variant.

The Neptune Declaration Crew Change Indicator (NDCCI) builds on aggregated data from 10 leading ship managers, including Anglo-Eastern, Bernhard Schulte, Columbia Shipmanagement, Fleet Management (FLEET), OSM, Synergy Marine, Thome, V.Group, Wallem, and Wilhelmsen Ship Management, which collectively have about 90,000 seafarers currently onboard ships.

Improvements in seafarer vaccination rates eased travel restrictions, and even regional decreasing infection rates are helping to improve the crisis, which at its peak saw some 400,000 seafarers working beyond their contracts or more than 11 months without relief.

The latest NDCCI shows that the percentage of seafarers working on board vessels beyond the expiry of their contract has decreased to 4.7% from 7.1% in the last month, and the number of seafarers on board vessels for over 11 months has also decreased to 0.7% from 1.0%.

Seafarer vaccinations

Seafarer vaccinations still pose numerous challenges, however, with vaccine hesitancy still being reported and supply challenges persisting in certain geographies.

Access to booster vaccines is also likely to become a new challenge in the months ahead, the latest report notes.

“We are encouraged by the Indicator’s December numbers, that shine some hope that the holiday season this year will be better for seafarers,” says Kasper Søgaard, Managing Director, Head of Institutional Strategy and Development, Global Maritime Forum. 

“The spread of the new omicron variant could however lead to a reversal of these positive trends.

It is important that governments treat seafarers as key workers and continue to allow crew changes when the proper health protocols are respected.”

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Source: GCaptain

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