Crew changes remain precarious

While there is some movement in crew changes, more needs to be done.

According to the new WPSP-IAPH COVID19 Port Economic Impact Barometer, on a global scale, 55% of ports in the survey reported no crew changes have taken place in week 27. In one third of the ports, a very limited number of crew changes have occurred (less than 5). 

When comparing regions, European ports showed the best picture in terms of the crew change situation, although 6 out of 10 European ports only recorded less than a handful of crew changes in the past week. 

In North America, crew changes were at a very low level with 57% of ports indicating there have not been any crew changes in week 27. No crew changes have taken place in the 29 responding ports from Central and South America. Despite best efforts from ports, the above figures showed the crew change situation remains very precarious, particularly in the Americas.

For some ports reporting that crew changes are permitted by health authorities and immigration offices, there are no regular/commercial international flights within close vicinity for completing the operation. In some cases, seafarers have to hire cars or use alternatives to be able to connect back home. Others reported the need for finding accommodation for crews to be housed during the obligatory quarantine period or whilst awaiting charter or regular flight connections.

IAPH Managing Director Patrick Verhoeven commented: “While these findings of our survey give some hope about crew changes, more needs to be done, especially in countries where nationals need repatriating. The measures taken recently in some countries such as Singapore and the Philippines to help repatriate sea staff long overdue for leave are encouraging. Other IMO member states need to follow suit, allowing our port members to help get crew home and their replacements onboard.”

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