In light of the situation, the IMO- Secretary-General Kitack Lim requested from the United Nations system agencies to provide their support concerning IMO’s request to governments to declare seafarers, port personnel and other crucial maritime workers as key personnel.

Specifically, Mr. Lim highlighted the importance of the maritime personnel’s well-being while urged about the crew changes issue.

Speaking of crew changes, Mr. Lim talked about the major restrictions that are resulted due to travel bans forced by governments following the COVID-19 outbreak.

At the same time, Mr Lim repeated his message once again that shipping is a major field for the economy which enables the global supply chain and global trade flows, including in particular urgently needed pharmaceuticals, medical equipment and food supply.

Although shipping trade manages to still work under normal conditions, challenges are increasing due to the restrictions imposed by countries.

For the records, IMO Secretary-Lim was participating in the meeting of the expanded UN Senior Management Group (SMG) chaired by the UN Secretary-General António Guterres. The meeting was attended by members of the SMG as well as heads of UN specialized agencies of FAO, IFAD, ICAO, IMO, ILO, ITU, WHO and WMO.

Concluding, IMO and the shipping industry are closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation, in order to support the global trade flows and the global supply chain during this unprecedented crisis.