An urgent call from Shipmasters: Seafarers are feeling let down and abandoned by their Governments

May 20, 2020
Gangway 1

Call to governments

The International Federation of Shipmasters’ Associations (IFSMA) calls upon Governments to adopt the Framework of protocols for ensuring safe ship crew changes and travel during the COVID-19 pandemicwithout delay to allow ship owners and management companies to change over their dangerously tired crews.

Governments must act now in order to avoid personal injury to, and mental breakdown of, seafarers and avoid the significant risk of accidents and consequential danger to life and the environment.

Concern at IFSMA

IFSMA is receiving an increasing number of reports from its ship masters’ associations around the world concerned for the welfare and safety of crews and the increased risk with which they are operating in an already high risk environment. Seafarers are feeling let down and abandoned by their Governments.

Unprecedented times

Following concerns from the maritime industry, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) issued a circular to all Member States, the UN and agencies and IGOs and NGOs in consultative status with IMO. This document concerned recommendations to Member States about measures to facilitate ship crew changes in seaports during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The IMO Secretary General has received a framework of protocols for ensuring safe ship crew changes and travel during the pandemic, proposed by a cross-section of global industry associations in consultative status with the IMO, for example: ICS, IAPH, BIMCO, IFSMA, and P&I Clubs as well as the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Of this document the Secretary-General supports these protocols and urges their implementation. Member States and international organizations are invited to make use of the framework and to disseminate it among relevant national authorities with responsibility for maritime issues, health, customs, immigration, border control, seaport and civil aviation authorities; and to liaise with relevant national authorities with respect to the use and implementation of this Framework, as appropriate.

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