The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), International Maritime Organization (IMO) and International Labour Organization (ILO) issued a joint statement advising that from the middle of June 2020 about 150,000 seafarers a month will require international flights to ensure crew changeovers can take place.
Specifically, the statement highlighted that half of the seafarers that will be repatriated will need to be transported by aircraft, while the other half will be joining ships.
The COVID-19 restrictions have led to challenges and additional restrictions to crew changes.
The statement reads that
For humanitarian reasons – and the need to comply with international safety and employment regulations – crew changes cannot be postponed indefinitely … We are seeking the support of Governments to facilitate crew changes, operations essential to maintain the global cargo supply chains and operations related to humanitarian aid, medical and relief flights.
Therefore, the three organizations ask that seafarers, marine personnel, fishing vessel personnel, offshore energy sector personnel, aviation personnel, air cargo supply chain personnel, and service provider personnel at airports and ports, regardless of nationality are designated as “key workers“.
In the meantime, they also urge the Governments to exempt these personnel from travel restrictions, to ensure crew changes can be carried out and that they have access to emergency medical treatment and, if necessary, to facilitate emergency repatriation.
Also, the statement asks that seafarers, marine personnel, fishers and offshore energy sector personnel are able to disembark and embark ships in port and transit through their territory (i.e. to an airport) for the purpose of crew changes and repatriation; and implementing appropriate approval and screening protocols.
- Circular Letter No.4204/Add.18 (26 May 2020) – Joint Statement IMO-ICAO-ILO on designation of seafarers, marine personnel, fishing vessel personnel, offshore energy sector personnel, aviation personnel, air cargo supply chain personnel and service provider personnel at airports and ports as key workers, and on facilitation of crew changes in ports and airports in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic
- Circular Letter No.4204/Add.17 (21 May 2020) – Coronavirus (COVID 19) – Preparing for post COVID-19 operations: considerations and practicalities for port community systems, single window and other electronic exchange platforms
- Circular Letter No.4204/Add.16 (6 May 2020) – Coronavirus (COVID 19) – COVID-19 related guidelines for ensuring a safe shipboard interface between ship and shore-based personnel
- Circular Letter No.4204/Add.15 (6 May 2020) – Coronavirus (COVID 19) – Personal protective equipment
- Circular Letter No.4204/Add.14 (5 May 2020) – Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Recommended framework of protocols for ensuring safe ship crew changes and travel during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic
- Circular Letter No.4204/Add.13 (5 May 2020) – Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Recommendations for Governments and relevant national authorities on facilitating the movement of offshore energy sector personnel during the COVID-19 pandemic
- Circular Letter No.4204/Add.12 (27 April 2020) – Coronavirus (COVID 19) – Declaration by Port Authorities Roundtable (PAR) members in view of the global COVID-19 situation
- Circular Letter No.4204/Add.11 (24 April 2020) – Coronavirus (COVID 19) – EC Guidelines on protection of health, repatriation and travel arrangements for seafarers, passengers and other persons on board ships.
- Circular Letter No.4204/Add.10 (22 April 2020) – Joint Statement IMO-WHO-ILO on medical certificates of seafarers, ship sanitation certificates and medical care of seafarers in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Circular Letter No.4204/Add.9 (16 April 2020) – Joint Statement IMO-WCO on the integrity of the global supply chain during the COVID-19 pandemic
- Circular Letter No.4204/Add.8 (14 April 2020) – Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Video meeting with port State control (PSC) regimes (includes joint statement and statements and/or relevant temporary guidance issued by the United States, the Acuerdo de Viña del Mar and the Caribbean, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean, Paris and Tokyo MOUs
- Circular Letter No.4204/Add.7 (3 April 2020) – Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Guidance concerning unforeseen delays in the delivery of ships
- Circular Letter No.4204/Add.6 (27 March 2020) Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Preliminary list of recommendations for Governments and relevant national authorities on the facilitation of maritime trade during the COVID-19 pandemic
- Circular Letter No.4204/Add.5 (17 March 2020) Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Guidance relating to the certification of seafarers
- Circular Letter No.4204/Add.4 (5 March 2020) contains ICS Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidance for ship operators for the protection of the health of seafarers
- Circular Letter No.4204/Add.3 (2 March 2020) – Operational considerations for managing COVID-19 cases/outbreak on board ships
- Circular Letter No.4204/Add.2 (21 February 2020) contains the Joint Statement IMO-WHO on the Response to the COVID-19 Outbreak and encourages Member States and international organizations to disseminate it as widely as possible. Available in the six official languages of the United Nations system.
- Circular Letter No.4204/Add.1 (19 February 2020) provides advice on Implementation and enforcement of relevant IMO instruments
- Circular Letter No.4203.Add.1 (12 February 2020) provides information and guidance on the precautions to be taken to minimize risks to delegates
- Circular Letter No.4204 (31 January 2020) providing information and guidance, based on recommendations developed by the World Health Organization (WHO), on the precautions to be taken to minimize risks to seafarers, passengers and others on board ships from the coronavirus.