The updated statement comes in response to recent reports of crew arriving in Singapore with Covid-19 symptoms, which shows that "some seafarers and crew and manning companies are not taking seriously the protocol of self-imposed isolation (minimum of 14 days) when being rostered for crew change," ICS stressed.
These regretful instances of noncompliance are putting the industry at risk of severe setbacks to the positive progress made prior. The industry cannot afford to lose the faith and support of governments. The irresponsible actions of a small minority could potentially lead to the shutdown of crew change processes at important shipping hubs, impacting the vast majority of seafarers and shipowners who are acting in accordance with the protocols.
Amid an ongoing crew change crisis that has yet to end, there are currently over 500,000 seafarers affected, with over 250,000 of them being trapped at sea and waiting to return home.
As such, ICS urges all stakeholders to strictly comply with crew change and health guidelines, to facilitate the safe changeover of seafarers. It also urges the global shipping industry and national governments to adopt its previously published health guidance for seafarers’ protection amid COVID-19, as well as the IMO's 12-step crew change protocols to ensure safe crew changes (click to enlarge):
The IMO developed the 12-step plan in early May, providing 174 member states with a roadmap to free seafarers from their COVID-19 lockdown.
Strict adherence to these 12-step protocols has proved that seafarers are able to change over safely and keep trade flowing,
Commenting on the situation, Guy Platten, Secretary General of the ICS said:
The very reason these protocols where produced was to ensure that crew change can be undertaken safely, minimizing the risk of transmission to seafarers and the public alike. We must stand firm as an industry and work together to ensure we maintain the highest standards possible. Continuing on the positive momentum gained over recent weeks to ensure that we get back to 100% crew change.