IATA and ICS Call on Governments to Facilitate Ship Crew Changes

IATA and the International Chamber of Shipping
(ICS) are jointly calling on governments to take urgent measures
to facilitate crew change flights for seafarers.

Due to the COVID19 restrictions, seafarers are
having to extend their service onboard ships after many months at
sea, unable to be replaced following long tours of duty or return

Shipping is vital to the maintenance of global
supply chains, but the current situation is unsustainable for the
safety and wellbeing of ships’ crews and the safe operation of
maritime trade.

Each month about 100,000 merchant seafarers need
to be changed over from the ships on which they operate to ensure
compliance with international maritime regulations protecting
safety, health and welfare.

As a result of government-imposed travel
restrictions due to COVID19, flights to repatriate or position
marine personnel are unavailable. Immigration and health screening
protocols are also hampering the ability of merchant ships to
conduct vitally necessary crew changes.

“Seafarers are unsung heroes who everyday
throughout this COVID19 crisis are going above and beyond the
call of duty to ensure that countries are kept supplied with the
goods they need,” said ICS Secretary General, Guy Platten. “We are
working with the airlines to come forward with solutions. We now
need governments to support our seafarers and facilitate safe
passage for them to get home to loved ones and be replaced by crew
members ready to keep supply chains open.”

ICS and IATA are calling on all governments to
designate a specific and limited number of crew change airports
for the safe movement and repatriation of crew. This would achieve
critical mass for the resumption of crew change flights to these
airports, keeping global supply chains open.

Priority airports should include those close to
major shipping lanes which also have direct air connections to
principal seafarer countries of residence, such as China, India
and Philippines as well as destinations in western and eastern

IATA and ICS are working with their global
regulators – the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)
and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) – on
numerous recommendations to governments for standardized procedures and
protocols for positioning crews whilst preventing the further
spread of COVID19.

Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and
CEO, said, “Airlines have been required to cut passenger services
in the fight to stop the spread of COVID19. But if governments
identify airports that seafarers can use for crew changes and make
appropriate adjustments to current health and immigration
protocols, airlines can help keep global logistics moving.”

* By volume, some 90% of global trade is delivered
by ship, including food, energy, raw materials and manufactured

* Airlines carry, in addition to passengers, some
35% of global trade by value, including critical medicines and
medical supplies.

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