Crew Safety Fears Rise Amid Lack of Opportunities for Change

As the world marks the Day of The Seafarers 2020, a new campaign to highlight the numbers of crew which are still stuck on board and unable to transfer off has been launched.

Global ship management company V.Group has said the world needs to better recognise the achievements of seafarers worldwide and raise awareness of the 200,000 currently stranded at sea. As such the campaign, launched by the International Maritime Organisation seeks to provide clear examples of the scale of the problem and its potential impact.

At present many coastal nation states ae refusing to allow crews to change at their ports due to the fear of the transmission of COVID-19. It has seen crews faced with spending a year in boards with no opportunity to leave the vessel and return to their homes.

It comes as fear continue to grow over the ability of seafarers to operate effectively fare months in board with both their physical and menta health impacted. With human error involved in a vast majority of maritime incidents the fears that fatigue will lead to mistakes and with it incidents has been raised by many in the sector.

“With more than 94% of all goods transported by sea, seafarers are on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic and play an essential role in maintaining the flow of vital goods, such as food, medicines and medical supplies,” said V.Group. “However, the crisis has led to challenging working conditions, including difficulties accessing ports, supply issues and disrupted crew mobility.”

The campaign, launched by the IMO calls on Member States to recognise seafarers as key workers – and to provide them with the support, assistance, and travel options open to all key workers during the pandemic. The current campaign also seeks to raise awareness of the work achieved by seafarers in response to the pandemic and to treat seafarers with the respect and dignity they deserve so that they can continue to provide their vital services to keep world trade moving.

V.Group has facilitated 10,282 crew movements in less than three months who had been stranded at sea due to the crew change crisis. The seafarers consisted of 92 nationalities from 795 vessels.

Allan Falkenberg, Managing Director of Crew Management at V.Group explained: “Reaching this milestone of 10,000 crew movements is testament to the global efforts of V.Group’s Crew Management and travel teams. By being fully committed to repatriating as many seafarers as possible, we have helped large numbers of crew reunite with their families or begin working on ships.

“With thousands still confined to vessels as a result of coronavirus restrictions, our crewing teams are working tirelessly to identify all potential crew change opportunities at the ports our seafarers’ vessels are scheduled to visit. We remain hopeful that a solution can be found to the crew change challenge, which remains the number one issue facing the maritime industry.”