U.S.-based drybulk shipowner Genco Shipping & Trading Limited announced the successful full crew change of the Genco Liberty, a 180,032 DWT Capesize vessel, marking the first full crew change under new COVID-19 protocols in Singapore. A total of 37 seafarers were involved in this crew change, which was completed on June 6, 2020 and executed in accordance with protocols established by Genco, Singapore’s Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) and the Synergy Group.
John C. Wobensmith, Chief Executive Officer, commented, “Amid the outbreak of COVID-19, many individuals have been onboard oceangoing vessels in excess of the duration of their contracts, keeping them away from their families. Port restrictions, difficulty arranging travel and ensuring the health of the on-signing crew members have all posed unique challenges that have prevented many shipowners from being able to undertake crew rotations in a safe and effective manner.
“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, we have worked diligently to promote the health, safety and well-being of our crew and to find a solution to return these individuals to their home country.
“For the Genco Liberty, we identified an opportunity to undertake a crew rotation in Singapore, as many of the dedicated 21 crew members have been onboard this vessel for longer than their original contract timeline due to COVID-19.”
The protocols developed by Genco, the MPA and the Synergy Group established quarantine and repatriation procedures for seafarers to protect health and safety, taking into account factors such as testing, the availability of personal protective equipment, travel and logistical issues, and the safety of the local community.
The protocols include that all arriving crew members were quarantined for 14 days prior to boarding the vessel, receive personal protective equipment kits, and were administered Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests prior to travel.
Genco said it continues to work on conducting crew changes where permissible by regulations of the ports and origin of the mariners, in addition to strict protocols to safeguard our crews against COVID-19 exposure.
Captain Rajesh Unni, Founder & Chief Executive Officer of Synergy Group, the Singapore-based ship manager appointed to the Genco Liberty, said, “At Synergy Group, we have been working diligently to conduct crew changes since the outbreak of COVID-19 and we are grateful to Genco for taking the lead together with the MPA and the Singaporean government. We would like to continue to see more crew rotations occur globally as other countries can now look to the successful Genco Liberty crew rotation as the blueprint to help return these seafarers to their families.”