Tuesday, January 26, 2021

New Global Declaration Intended to End the Maritime Crew Change Crisis

Name and Shame Needed to Prompt Humanitarian Response
Shipping News Feature

WORLDWIDE – Over 300 maritime industry and human rights leaders have stepped up to sign a new global pledge to resolve the horrific crew change crisis which has bedevilled the maritime sector for months.

The situation engendered by the global pandemic has witnessed hundreds of thousands of the world’s seafarers pushed into what the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) for one, says amounts to forced labour.

Those who took up the Neptune Declaration on Seafarer Wellbeing and Crew Change have now promised to deliver on a shared responsibility to resolve a crisis which has taken a terrible toll on individuals and families, affecting mental health and causing poverty seemingly ignored by some governments and companies around the globe.

The Neptune Declaration, and a full list of signatories including names such as major multinationals BP, Cargill, Rio Tinto and Shell, is viewable HERE and Stephen Cotton, ITF General Secretary, welcomed the commitments of the 327 companies and organisations that signed the pledge, an initiative led by the Global Maritime Forum, saying:

“The ITF welcomes the commitment from ship owners, charterers, investors, NGOs and industry groups in signing the Neptune Declaration, and now there is an expectation that words are turned into action.

“With the rise of new variants of Covid, we are sadly seeing governments backsliding and bringing in more restrictions. Right now is the time for every CEO, every board member, of every company that relies on global shipping, to demand that governments don’t forget the key workers driving their economies and unblock their borders to seafarers before this crisis gets worse.

“Companies must now be held to account. This means no more charter parties with ‘no crew change’ clauses: charterers must work with ship owners to facilitate crew changes. This means investors asking the companies they own and deal with what the companies are doing to address the crisis. And this means asking why any company in the industry didn’t sign this declaration.”

Signatories of the Neptune Declaration committed to act included calling industry peers and governments to:

  • Recognise seafarers as key workers and give them priority access to Covid-19 vaccines
  • Establish and implement gold standard health protocols based on existing best practice
  • Increase collaboration between ship operators and charterers to facilitate crew changes
  • Ensure air connectivity between key maritime hubs for seafarers