In light of the situation, the Liberian Registry is already collaborating with shipping industry players and recognized organisations such as the IMO, ICS and ITF and urge other vital flag States to join their efforts, so as crewmembers be allowed to embark and disembark from ships during the coronavirus outbreak.

As Chief Operating Officer of the Liberian International Ship and Corporate Registry (LISCR), Alfonso Castillero said:

This is a very important issue globally for the safety of seafarers, the vessels that are vital to the transport of key goods. Seafarers should be allowed the opportunity to return home upon the completion of their sea service, which to date has been largely not possible. I have been very pleased with the cooperation and communication thus far in working closely with key bodies such as ITF, ICS, and the IMO.

Moreover, Liberian Registry informed that there is still a lot of work to be done globally, until seafarers can be recognized as key workers. At the moment the region has been working with industry stakeholders to have crew exchanges conducted safely and regularly to ensure the safety of the global fleet and the maritime supply chain.

It has also been good to see the efforts of nations such as Singapore and others progressing to allow the continuous operation of their ports, and the recognition of the importance that seafarers play in the global economy. There is a lot of work being done globally to get this achieved. I strongly feel that the major flag States must work together in unison to make this shared priority of ours a reality. I do sincerely hope that the other flag States will join us in this effort.

....Alfonso Castillero added.

Overall, in response to the IMO guidance, as well as ICS and ITF calls to facilitate the essential movement of seafarers and marine personnel amid COVID-19 pandemic, China, one of the major seafarer exporting countries, has taken measures to facilitate crew change in a safe manner.