The UK government hosted a global summit on the impact of Covid-19 on crew changes on July 9, 2020. Just 15 countries attended.

“The absence of many key countries from the international community at the summit highlights the apparent indifference of some governments towards the crew change crisis and their lack of understanding of the critical role seafarers play in keeping international trade moving,” said David Loosley, BIMCO secretary general.

The ability of a ship to continue operating safely depends on regular crew changes to avoid fatigue. In the exceptional circumstances created by the pandemic agreement is needed that crew changes are a common benefit and that those hiring the ships should be willing to contribute to the process, said BIMCO.

At a practical level, BIMCO has appealed to shipowners and those who hire the services of their ships to work together to carry out crew changes. If shipowners are unable to make crew changes at the ports where the ship visits, then they should not be penalised if they must carry out the crew change elsewhere.

“BIMCO has created a tangible contractual solution to allow crew changes to happen through a cooperative approach – and now it is the turn of governments to play their vital part and cut the red tape, not just talk about it,” said Loosley.

BIMCO continues to urge its members to contact their national governments to demand action in response to the crew change crisis.