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IMO Secretary-General issues impassioned personal message to seafarers
“You are not alone. You are not forgotten”. So said IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim in a moving personal message to seafarers everywhere, assuring them that IMO understands the unique problems they face during the coronavirus pandemic and has been working tirelessly at all levels to find solutions for them.
Hundreds of ship sailings have been cancelled as trade has been reduced in line with the slowing global economy and ports all over the world have either closed or drastically cut their operations.
But restrictions on travel and personal movement adopted by most countries have left many seafarers stranded on board ships, unable to disembark or be replaced by relief crews. Others find themselves stuck in hotels, without pay and unable to get flights home.
Estimates suggest that, every month, 100,000 seafarers finish their contracts and would normally be flown home - but the coronavirus has had a huge negative impact on this repatriation process.
Since the start of the global lockdown, IMO has been in urgent contact with trade unions, seafarer welfare organizations, shipowners, governments and fellow United Nations agencies, especially the International Labour Organization, to try and find solutions.
Mr Lim said he had been “deeply touched by the many stories we have heard from individual seafarers of the challenges, hardships and sacrifices that seafarers have made to keep the global supply chain moving while helping the global population.”
He noted the difficulties the maritime industry has faced in conducting crew changeovers, providing medical care for sick and injured crew and allowing for shore leave, and added “the inability to resupply or repatriate crews concerns me greatly”.
Describing seafarers as being in the “front line’’ of the global fight against the pandemic, Mr Lim said, “All of us at IMO understand the challenges you face. ” He added “To all seafarers, my message to you is strong and clear: We are listening. We hear you.”
Secretary-General Lim has written to all IMO Member States, urging them to recognize all seafarers as “key workers”, remove any barriers to their documentation and lift national travel restrictions so that they can get home on conclusion of their contracts, and rejoin their families. And, wherever possible, IMO staff have been working round the clock to help bring individual cases to a speedy resolution.
India: MHA comes out with SOPs for seafarers
Ministry of Home Affairs has issues Standard Operating Procedures for sign-on / sign-off procedures for Indian seafarers at Indian Ports to safeguard against the spread of COVID-19.
As per the order on SOPs issued by the MHA, a seafarer will have to be kept in a quarantine facility either of the port or of the respective state till he or she is tested for COVID-19.
For details of order, please visit MHA website link as follows:
Container ship crew kidnapped by pirates off Benin - Outlook India
Eight crew members of a Singapore-owned container ship are missing and thought to have been kidnapped after it was stormed by pirates off Benin, the ship s German management firm said Tuesday.
Shipping firm Transeste said that the vessel, the Tommi Ritscher, had been boarded on Sunday while at anchor off the port of Cotonou.
It added that an operation to recover the ship found 11 crew members safely aboard, but "regrettably, eight crew members remain missing and are now believed to have been kidnapped by the pirates".
"The Benin Navy led an operation assisted by a Nigerian Special Taskforce to board the vessel early today confirming the safety of the 11 crew members and the absence of the pirates and eight seafarers." "Our thoughts are with the families of the missing seafarers during this difficult time and we are updating them regularly on the situation." Benin lies at the heart of the Gulf of Guinea, which which stretches some 5,700 kilometres (3,500 miles) from Senegal to Angola.
Coastal waters in the centre of this vast region have become an epicentre of pirate attacks, lootings and kidnappings for ransom.
Last year, out of 162 incidents of piracy and maritime armed robbery reported around the world, 64 occurred in the the Gulf of Guinea, according to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB). (AFP) RS RS RS
Are seafarers more susceptible to mental health problems? - Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide
Mental health concerns are one of the main causes leading to an inability to work and the development of issues such as anxiety. In addition to the personal impact, the cost to the global economy of mental health issues is enormous, both in direct monetary terms and in decreased productivity.
Mental health concerns are often characterised as being at “crisis point” worldwide and continue to increase. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that at least 264 million people suffer from depression alone and the scale of this problem has extensive material impacts....
India: Relief for seafarers all over - Free Press Journal
The Ministry of Home Affairs on late Tuesday evening issued an order allowing the movement of Indian seafarers during lockdown. It also put out the Standard Operating Procedure for sign-on/sign-off for Indian seafarers at Indian Ports.
The change of crew of a ship (seafarers) is an important facet of the operation of a merchant ship. The Ministry official told the FPJ, "Today s order will help nearly 30000 seafarers from all over the world to return to India.
They can now sign on and sign off. However, they will have to be quarantined." He informed that nearly 144 crew members of a passenger liner, which is anchored near Mumbai for the last one month, can now disembark but will have to be quarantined.
Unseen, unsung, everyday heroes � helping developing world seafarers on the frontline - theloadstar.com
If you are a seafarer stranded far from home what do you do? As one of the thousands of indispensable seafarers from developing countries caught in lockdowns enforced to limit the spread of COVID19 with no way home, where do you turn for help for you and your family?
“The outbreak of COVID-19 on a global scale has brought fear and uncertainty to key workers around the world. Those in the maritime sector have particular anxieties as they are displaced from home, friends, family and the other support mechanisms available to most. It has never been more important for these seafarers to have access to help in some form,” states Captain John Lloyd, Chief Executive of The Nautical Institute.
For those seafarers, the Seafarers Emergency Fund (SEF), established a number of years ago by UK-registered charity the International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN), can provide vital financial support during the COVID-19 pandemic. ...
Panama Implements A Strategy To Promote Its Economy Through The Maritime, Logistics And Port Sectors - Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide
The maritime, logistics and port sectors never stop; they are a constant source of income which supplies an important economic contribution to the nation. Proof of this is the Panama Maritime Authority’s (PMA) position as the third institution in monetary contributions to the Panamanian State.
For this reason, after all the pertinent consultations have been carried out, we put in place a management model that allows using viable economic/financial spaces to strengthen the country’s business platform while facing global events that affect our national reality, without jeopardizing the nation’s health integrity....
India: Handling cargo with caution, 55,238 crew, passengers not allowed to disembark: Official - Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide
Handling EXIM cargo with laid down protocols to contain COVID-19 spread, India”s ports saw as many as 1,715 ships mostly from China reaching its shores till Sunday with over 55,000 crew and passengers that were not allowed to disembark, a Shipping Ministry official said on Tuesday.
Of the 1,715 ships reaching Indian shores with cargo between January 27 and April 19, as many as 1,347 ships reached major ports and allowed anchoring at designated places.
“We are strictly adhering to precautions to prevent any further spread of COVID-19 while handling cargo at ports and the government has not issued shore passes or daily passes to 55,238 crew and passengers on board 1,715 vessels,” an official told PTI on Tuesday.
Of the 55,238 crew and passengers on board these ships, 48,261 reached India”s major ports, the official said....
China bars entry of overseas ship crew - Seatrade Maritime News
China is strengthening control measures for the containment of imported COVID-19 cases, stating that international ship crew are not allowed to come ashore as a matter of principle.
As the crew change crisis continues China has further tightened its regulations on seafarers coming ashore for any reason.
Liu Haitao, an official from China’s National Immigration Administration (NIA), said at the latest press conference held by China’s State Council’s Joint Defense and Joint Control Mechanism response to COVID-19 outbreak status that overseas ship crews are not allowed to land, and the Chinese crew members who have sailed for more than 14 days at sea and are in good health condition are allowed to go ashore. Chinese crew with less than 14 days sailing period need to be quarantined for further observation.
Currently, Chinese border agencies are examining more than 20,000 daily border entries via sea, land and air transport, accounting for over 70% of the country s total daily border entries.
To prevent imported virus transmission from seaports, the NIA also track ships on international routes to prevent illegal entry and stowaways, said Liu.
At the beginning of this month, China’s Ministry of Transport issued notice to strengthen the crew change management onboard ships sailing international routes for further prevention and control of COVID-19 spread.
India: Centre assures to bring back stranded Indian seafarers, Goa prepares for their quarantine - ANI News
Minister of State for Defence Shripad Y Naik met External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar
and his deputy V Muraleedharan to assure that all possible efforts are being made to
bring back the Indian seafarers stranded in different parts of the world.
"As per Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) Standard Operating Procedure (SoP) for sign-in
and sign-off of Indian Seafarers at Indian Ports and their movement issued on April 21
late night all the Indian Seafarers including Goan brothers on various cruise boats/liners
etc around Indian shores will be brought onshore or join a vessel with all due care," said
Naik in a statement.
He thanked the central government for timely help and decision, which will give relief to
the seafarers stranded on different vessels near Indian ports. "This will also end the
hardship caused to seafarers and pave the way to return to their homes safely," he said.
After the central government s guidelines allowing disembarkment of the seafarers
stranded on Indian shores, Goa is readying itself to quarantine Goans who were working
as crew on three different ships as a precautionary measure to contain corona spread.
Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Tuesday said that the crew members from three
different ships would be disembarked in Mumbai on Wednesday.
"As per the order of Union Ministry of Home Affairs, all the Goans working on these three
ships which are stranded on Indian shore would be brought to Goa," he said.
Sawant said that they would be tested for COVID-19 after being brought to Goa and
would undergo quarantine for 14 days. (ANI)