The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has issued updated guidance to facilitate repatriation flights amid the ongoing crew change crisis.

An estimated 400,000 seafarers are still trapped at sea due to Covid-19 restrictions imposed by governments. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) said the guidance outlines specific recommendations for seafarer changeover flights, including the need for advanced bilateral communication, coordination and planning between shipowners, aviation stakeholders and the relevant authorities.

It also requests states to grant rapid authorisation for the entry, departure, and transit of aircraft, including seafarer changeover flights.

Kitack Lim, secretary general at IMO, expressed confidence that this United Nations contribution will have a positive impact on the crew change crisis.

The guidance can be found on the ICAO website.