It is known that the coronavirus crisis has brought several difficulties within the maritime community.
With seafarers and offshore workers being stranded at sea due to the lockdown travel restrictions, shipping and offshore energy industry have joined their forces to ensure that crewmembers will be designated as "key workers".
Although until now the ‘Recommendations’1 which IMO had previously issued, they are not applicable for offshore energy sector personnel, such as Industrial Personnel (a term covering everyone from divers to windfarm engineers, geodata specialists and drilling crew to HSE advisers, and more) who do not fall within the definition of either ‘seafarer’ or ‘marine personnel’.
In light of the situation, an international offshore energy industry group, comprising IADC, IAGC, IMCA, IOGP and ISOA, gained initial approval from the IMO, wrote formally to the IMO Secretary-General to gain recognition of offshore energy sector personnel as ‘key workers’ alongside seafarers and marine personnel.
The ‘Recommendations for Governments which have been developed by the joint industry group should ensure smooth handovers, essential within the offshore sector.
Namely, Margaret Fitzgerald, IMCA’s Head of Policy & Regulatory Affairs, explained:
The international offshore industry group developed an amended set of ‘Recommendations’2 specifically addressing offshore energy sector personnel, calling for them to be recognised internationally as ‘key workers’ and given the same consideration as seafarers and marine personnel when transiting to and from their places of work.
In order to enhance offshore workers transportation, IMCA is working closely with the IMO to boost crew changeovers and continue to carry out workforce despite the coronavirus challenges.