One apparent impact of Covid-19 has been to highlight the problems inherent in having a global shipping industry that in the past few decades has chosen to focus on only a few countries when it comes to providing its crew members.
One of the beneficiaries of this focus was the Philippines, with crew being flown to ports worldwide to relieve other Filipino crew members, who were then flown back home.
The problems created by Covid-19 worldwide have served to “turn back the tide”, with the news being released that over the past 18 months the Philippines has lost global seafarer market share.
The Philippines government has been asked to address its own travel restrictions, and to address the bottlenecks that have prohibited Filipino seafarers from going back to ships. Managers have been shifting to other nationalities whose workers were relatively easier to onboard.
Tore Henriksen, Chairman – Joint Maritime Committee (JMC) and the German-Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry have said that many members had felt compelled to change from Filipino crew to other nationalities due to practical reasons – mainly the costs and logistical difficulties of flying crew to and from the Philippines.
A report from 2019 suggested that, out of the global total of 1.6 million, there were 400,000 Filipino seafarers.