The first seafarers to benefit from the use of chartered flights to comply with the new crew change protocol, developed by the Singapore Crew Change Working Group (SGCCWG), disembarked bulk carrier Genco Liberty (IMO 9718222) at the Port of Singapore on June 6th.
Wilhelmsen coordinated the crew change for Synergy Group. The 19-strong Indian crew will return home via a chartered flight from Singapore to Colombo and then on to India. Their colleagues made up of fourteen Sri Lankans and four Indian seafarers who arrived at Singapore from Sri Lanka early this morning, also via the same chartered flight, signed on the same day.
Captain Rajesh Unni, founder and CEO of ship management company Synergy Group said that “at Synergy Group we have desperately been trying to conduct crew changes since the outbreak of Covid-19. In early March, we proposed the idea of a safe corridor for seafarers to facilitate crew changes, founded an alliance of … maritime companies in April to push for collective crew changes and most recently have been one of the participants in the Singapore Crew Change Working Group. It is no accident that this latest success has been achieved in partnership with the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and the Singapore government,”
“By enabling a full complement of Sri Lanka and Indian seafarers to join and disembark this GENCO Shipping & Trading bulk carrier, through this well planned and controlled changeover, they have shown the world that crew changeovers for seafarers of other nationalities are possible even during a pandemic”, he said.
In the current environment, where the impact and restrictions relating to the pandemic remain fluid in many places, the expectation is that the coordination of crew change will continue to be a challenge.
On-signers of the Genco Liberty were asked to remain in home quarantine for 14 days and tested negative for Covid-19 before their departure flight. They were met at the airport by an agent with a private transport that complied with safe distancing measures. Face masks and hand sanitisation were also provided for all arriving crew.
For the crew signing-off, an approved medical doctor certified that all crew members were fit-to-travel prior to sign-off. There was no sharing of passenger launch boats for crew and service engineers/technicians. The crew members were conveyed in private transport that complied with safe distancing measures, and fresh face masks and hand sanitisation were provided for all crew before boarding the vehicles.
The new crew change protocols published in the COVID-19 Singapore Crew Change Guidebook were developed in accordance with the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS)’s Framework of Crew Change Protocol and MPA’s Port Marine Circular (PMC) 26 of 2020.
The guidebook is issued by MPA, Singapore Shipping Association (SSA) and Singapore Maritime Officers’ Union (SMOU), and in cooperation with the International Maritime Employers’ Council Ltd (IMEC) and the World Shipping Council (WSC).
2016-built, Marshall Islands-flagged, 94.013 gt Genco Liberty is owned by Genco Liberty Ltd care of Genco Ship Management of New York, USA. IS manager is Wallem Shipmanagement of Hong Kong. It is entered with Gard P&I Club on behalf of Gard P&I Club on behalf of Genco Liberty Ltd. It is entered with Skuld AS for H&M, War, Loss of Hire, with Gard AS having a subscription position.