NBAS Talks #7: The continued crew change-crisis

Exhausted Seafarer After 10 Months At Sea. Photo Anoop Kumar Vaswani

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In a new episode of NBAS-talks, we are focusing on the crew change-crisis, caused by the COVID19-pandemic.

Continued crew change-crisis: With the recent mutations of the virus in the UK and South Africa. Is the shipping industry better prepared, or will we see a crisis as bad, or worse than in spring 2020?

Backbone of world trade

Shipping is the backbone of the world trade, carrying 90% of the goods around the world. Thus, on a given day, one million seafarers are working on 60 000 large vessels worldwide.

Seafarers need to sign on ships and sign off ships. In normal times, crew changes are seamless logistical operations. However, when the pandemic struck in 2020, crew changes became almost impossible, due to the risk of spreading the virus.

Continued crew change-crisis

Consequently, hundreds of thousands of seafarers where locked on board for months after their contracts expired. According to the International Maritime Organization, which is the UN-body for safety and security at sea, this is a humanitarian, safety and economic crisis.

During 2020, the industry found solutions to diminish the crew change problem. However, the question has gained new urgency due to the recent mutations of the virus.

With us to discuss the crew change-crisis, are Mr. Esben Poulsson, president of the International Chamber of Shipping, Mr Olav Nortun, CEO of Thome and Mr. Marius Johansen, Vice President Commercial of Wilhelmsen Ships Agency.

Smart, digital tools for crew change

In the episode, Olav, Marius and Esben refers to Wilhelmsen Ships Agency’s interactive maps with port restrictions info, crew testing availability, layup locations and e-advisor. Wilhelmsen Sips Agency has crafted frameworks and worked with regulators to develop protocols for safe crew change corridors between countries. The map has 550 000 unique users.

Thanks to DNVGL for sponsoring this episode of NBAS Talks. Thanks to ITF Seafarers Trust ‘Still at Sea’ /Anoop Kumar Vaswani for the cover photo.

Listen to Esben, Marius and Olav discuss the crew change-crisis: