Νotable maritime nations attended and pledged support, and there has been encouraging news since then. BIMCO is, however, concerned about the number of participants and the lack of timescales for concrete actions.

“The absence of many key countries from the international community at the summit highlights the apparent indifference of some governments towards the crew change crisis and their lack of understanding of the critical role seafarers play in keeping international trade moving

noted David Loosley, BIMCO Secretary General.

For the past few months, the shipping industry has been trying to overcome the obstacles that have made crew changes so difficult to perform. It has created safety protocols, carried out media interviews, chartered flights, rerouted ships, written to politicians, made noise in ports and on social media.

At a practical level, BIMCO has appealed to shipowners and those who hire the services of their ships to work together to carry out crew changes. If shipowners are unable to make crew changes at the ports where the ship visits, then they should not be penalised if they must carry out the crew change elsewhere.

The ability of a ship, BIMCO continues, to operate safely depends on regular crew changes to avoid fatigue. In the exceptional circumstances created by the pandemic agreement is needed that crew changes are a common benefit and that those hiring the ships should be willing to contribute to the process.

Now is not the time for inward looking nationalism – all governments need to step up to the mark and work together to provide a tangible international solution to a pressing international problem; robust, decisive and immediate action is needed to bring our seafarers home safely

Mr. Loosley concluded.