IMO issues updated recommended crew change protocols

The International Maritime Organization has published updated guidance in their Industry-recommended framework of protocols for ensuring safe ship crew changes and travel during the Covid-19 pandemic.

MSC.1/Circ.1636/Rev.1 of April 22nd considers the issues relevant to the global rollout of vaccines and the critical part they will play in facilitating crew changes and the efficient movement of world trade.

It also sets out general measures and procedures that IMO said should, so far as is practicable, “be implemented by all the parties involved in facilitating safe ship crew changes during the pandemic”.

The framework considers both joining a ship and repatriation, meaning that  there is a protocol for each step of the journey.

Much of the advice is aimed at governments and national authorities, but there are numerous sections aimed at shipowners and operators, specifically referencing ISM Code and MLC obligations.

The protocols for crew change and travel were drawn up by ICS, IAPH, BIMCO, IFSMA, INTERTANKO, P&I Clubs, CLIA, INTERCARGO, InterManager, IPTA, IMCA, INTERFERRY, FONASBA, ITF, and WSC. They also take account of input from the International Maritime Heath Association (IMHA) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA).—revised-imo-publication/