An urgent call from Shipmasters: Seafarers are feeling let down and abandoned by their Governments


IFSMA* calls upon Governments to adopt the ‘Framework of protocols for ensuring safe ship crew changes and travel during the COVID-19 pandemic’ without delay to allow ship owners and management companies to change over their dangerously tired crews.

Governments must act now in order to avoid personal injury to, and mental breakdown of, seafarers and avoid the significant risk of accidents and consequential danger to life and the environment.

Concern at IFSMA
IFSMA is receiving an increasing number of reports from its ship masters’ associations around the world concerned for the welfare and safety of crews and the increased risk with which they are operating in an already high risk environment. Seafarers are feeling let down and abandoned by their Governments.

Unprecedented times
Following concerns from the maritime industry, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) issued a circular to all Member States, the UN and agencies and IGOs and NGOs in consultative status with IMO. This document concerned recommendations to Member States about measures to facilitate ship crew changes in seaports during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The IMO Secretary General has received a framework of protocols for ensuring safe ship crew changes and travel during the pandemic, proposed by a cross-section of global industry associations in consultative status with the IMO, for example: ICS, IAPH, BIMCO, IFSMA, and P&I Clubs as well as the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Of this document the Secretary-General supports these protocols and urges their implementation. Member States and international organizations are invited to make use of the framework and to disseminate it among relevant national authorities with responsibility for maritime issues, health, customs, immigration, border control, seaport and civil aviation authorities; and to liaise with relevant national authorities with respect to the use and implementation of this Framework, as appropriate. (ENDS)

The *International Federation of Shipmasters’ Associations (IFSMA see: www.ifsma.org was established in 1974 to uphold International Standards of Professional Competence for Shipmasters and Seafarers.

It is a Federation with a policy to ensure Safe Operational Practices, Preservation from Human Injury, Protection of the Marine Environment and Safety of Life and Property at Sea.

In 1975, IFSMA was granted Consultative Status as a non-governmental, apolitical organisation at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) which enables it to represent the views and protect the interests of the world’s serving Shipmasters unfettered and unfiltered by others.
Source: IFSMA



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