Excerpt from press release and statement issued on January 26, 2021
Overcoming the seafarer crisis: Enabling Crew Changes and Repatriation
The Covid-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented crew change crisis which has led to hundreds of thousands of seafarers being impacted. Despite significant efforts by international organizations, some governments, industry associations, labor unions, NGOs and individual companies, the issue is still far from resolved.
Seafarers from across the globe are unable to be relieved since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. This is not an acceptable way to treat seafarers, who are the frontline workers of the maritime industry carrying 90% of global trade. Fatigue after extended periods at sea has significant consequences on the physical and mental wellbeing of seafarers. It also increases the risk of maritime incidents and environmental disasters, and poses a wider threat to the integrity of global supply chains, which depend on safe and reliable maritime transport.
This is why a taskforce of stakeholders from across the maritime value chain has identified a set of key issues preventing crew changes, that require urgent action.
Taking action to deliver on our shared responsibility
More than 300 companies and organizations recognize that they have a shared responsibility based on their roles across the entire maritime value chain, and beyond, to ensure that the crew change crisis is resolved as soon as possible. They have signed the Neptune Declaration on Seafarer Wellbeing and Crew Change that defines four main actions to facilitate crew changes and keep global supply chains functioning:
- Recognize seafarers as key workers and give them priority access to Covid-19 vaccines
- Establish and implement gold standard health protocols based on existing best practice
- Increase collaboration between ship operators and charterers to facilitate crew changes
- Ensure air connectivity between key maritime hubs for seafarers
“We, the signatories to The Neptune Declaration on Seafarer Wellbeing and Crew Change, recognize that we have a shared responsibility to ensure that the current crew change crisis is resolved as soon as possible and to use the learnings from the crisis as an opportunity to build a more resilient maritime supply chain.
We believe that the most effective way of addressing the crew change challenge and building a more resilient maritime logistics chain, is by working together across the value chain with industry stakeholders, organizations and with governments to implement solutions that work in practice.
Therefore, we commit to take action to resolve the crew change crisis, based on our position and role in the value-chain, thereby ensuring the rights and wellbeing of the seafarers supporting global supply chains. We call on our peers and other stakeholders, in particular relevant government bodies, to join us in our efforts.”
Members of the taskforce are, among others, the Global Maritime Forum, the International Chamber of Shipping, the International Maritime Employers’ Council, the International Transport Workers’ Federation, and World Economic Forum.
Learn more about the Neptun Declaration and see the full list of undersigning companies and organizations here.