ITF: Crew Change Situation Escalating

Crew Repatriation

Despite all efforts, the crew change situation is still escalating, said Stephen Cotton, general secretary of the International Transport Workers Federation, in a speech today on World Maritime Day (Sept. 24, 2020).

Speaking about shipping in general, he said that nearly 400,000 seafarers were way beyond their tour of duty, and that seafarers and all responsible companies engaged in global supply chains have a right to demand urgent government intervention to end this crisis.

“We need governments to deliver pragmatic solutions for this deadlock, which can only happen through active collaboration between government departments,” Cotton said.

“I want to be clear that we are calling for action on crew change, and we need to make sure that shipping and global supply chains that depend on it do not make COVID-19 a justification for short cuts that risk lives and the environment.”

Cotton cited ITF’s recent report Beyond the Limited, highlighting the organization’s concern with remote inspections, certificate extensions and rubber stamping of what it called unsafe manning levels.

He said that the ITF has been striving for practical crew change solutions from the outset of the pandemic, when governments implemented protective measures.

Cotton also used the opportunity to thank the International Chamber of Commerce of Shipping and the Joint Negotiating Group representing shipowners, together with support from the ILO and IMO, on the development of protocols that he said can be and should adopted to move seafarers to and from ships.

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