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.

  See herebelow IMO's circulars on COVID-19