The previous week, the ship's Indian captain decided to invoke the Master’s Authority under the International Safety Management Code and applicable Safety Management System, refusing to offload his cargo at Chittagong Port for fear that his ship could be infected with the coronavirus via the 60-odd local stevedores who would normally board the vessel in order to offload cargoes.
In the meantime, the owners, UAE-based Tomini Shipping, asked the flag state administration, the Marshall Islands to mediate, while the master and 21 crew have come up what they state are the only workable solutions for the safe offload of the cargo.
In light of the situation, HRAS stated that it represents a number of pertinent issues including the weighting of commercial interests over crew welfare standards, as set against emerging Covid-19 restrictions during commercial loading and discharge operations.
In an email sent exclusively to HRAS, Tomini Shipping stated that "The safety, health and wellbeing of our seafarers is our number one priority and our management and technical teams are in constant communication with all our seafarers supporting them and their families as we navigate the complicated challenges the COVID 19 pandemic presents."
Overall, the charity concluded that
The case highlights a number of wider issues which may well shape future conduct of business in light of the emerging and the indisputable threat to life of the Covid-19 virus.