A league table has been set up by InterManager – with support of other industry players – to indicate how well companies are performing in repatriating crew during the Covid-19 pandemic.
InterManager Secretary-General Captain Kuba Szymanski discussed the table, (www.intermanager.org/maritime-champions/) which provides statistics on seafarers relieved since March 23rd, and also indicates the nationality of those seafarers and the routes successfully used for crew changes, when he met with other representatives of the cross-party Covid-19 Seafarers’ Welfare group for a digital press round table on May 20th.
The group, which was formed 10 weeks ago by the International Chamber for Shipping, has participants from across the industry, including InterManager, International Transport Workers Federation (ITF), International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN), International Maritime Health Association (IMHA) and International Christian Maritime Association (ICMA).
Captain Szymanski said there had been much fake news disseminated about there being no crew changes taking place. This, he said, had filtered through to seafarers and had been making them anxious.
“The league is showing it is possible to repatriate,” said Szymanski.
Natalie Shaw, Director of Employment Affairs for ICS, said that seafarers were finding it difficult to access medical care; other issues included renewal of visas and passports. Robert Verbist, of IMHA, confirmed that medical abilities had been limited by some authorities.
Roger Harris, Executive Director, ISWAN, said the welfare organisation had received many calls from seafarers worried out repatriation, financial hardship and stress, and it was working hard to help them. Fabrizio Barcelona, ITF Seafarers’ Section Assistant Secretary said that the ITF Seafarers Trust had put aside £1m to support seafarers.
ICMA general secretary Jason Zuidema, whose members include Mission to Seafarers and Sailors’ Society, said welfare work had been made more difficult with the closing of seafarer centres but in some cases they were able to provide gangway visits to drop off food and medical supplies. He added that for many seafarers who were going home did not know when their next contract would be.